Saudi UN ambassador denies Yemen embargo

Posted November 15, 2017

The UN has warned that an already catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Yemen was worsening each day that aid shipments remained blocked.

Without Sanaa airport and Hudaydah and Saleef seaports fully functioning and receiving cargo, the dire humanitarian situation will deteriorate further.

Jamie McGoldrick said the north of the country had 20 days' stocks of diesel, which were crucial for pumping water and fighting a huge cholera outbreak, and 10 days' stocks of gasoline, with no prospect of resupply soon.

Some UNHCR staff have also been affected, with some stranded outside the country and others lacking fuel for transport.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen announced a suspension of border crossing via air, marine and land routes following a ballistic missile fired from Yemen targeting Saudi capital Riyadh on November 6.

Meanwhile, Minister of Local Administration, Abdul Raqeeb Fateh said that the Yemeni government welcomed the statement issued by Saudi Arabia's United Nations ambassador to reopen the seaports and airports of Yemen's liberated area in the next 24 hours.

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Al-Mouallimi said the Saudi-led coalition wants tougher inspections at the port of Hodeida, which is controlled by Houthi Shiite rebels, because current United Nations -monitored inspections only check large ships, and "in the case of small and medium-size ships there is hardly any inspection that takes place in the port or anywhere else". "The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable".

On Monday, Saudi Arabia said it would begin opening airports and seaports, but that has not happened yet.

The Houthis control most of the north, including Sana'a and its worldwide airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace.

The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said.

The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's top priority humanitarian crisis, with more than 17 million people lacking food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation. More than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 per cent of all cholera cases in Yemen are closest to the two ports, which are both in rebel-held territory.

Those ports are in Yemeni cities of Aden, Mocha and Mukalla.