The Saudi-led coalition said it will not re-open a Yemeni key port to aid shipments, in a move that tightens the blockade on the Arab impoverished country which has been under brutal aggression by the coalition for nearly three years.
Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador, Abdallah al-Mouallimi, said Monday that tighter restrictions were demanded on the key port of Hodeida.
“If the sea port of Hodeida is to be reopened, it will have to be under safe conditions that would ensure that there will be no supply of weapons and ammunitions coming through that port,” said Mouallimi, whose country has been since March 2015 launching a brutal campaign against Yemen in a bid to restore power to Riyadh-backed ex-president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
The Saudi ambassador meanwhile, claimed that the coalition has invited the United Nations to send experts to Riyadh for talks on tightening inspections in Hodeida.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock last week warned that unless the blockade is lifted, Yemen will face “the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.”
The United Nations insisted its aid operations need access to the Hodeida and Saleef ports, saying that more than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 percent of all cholera cases are closest to the two ports.
“The port at Aden does not have the capacity for commercial and humanitarian cargo, and unless the Red Sea ports in Hodeida and Saleef are opened immediately, the UN will not be able to feed 7 million people every month,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
“Those are the ones that we need.”
The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world’s number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of famine.
More than 2,000 Yemenis have died in a cholera outbreak now affecting nearly one million people.
The UN’s World Food Program warned that current stocks of rice will run out in 111 days and wheat in 97 unless the blockade is lifted.