Saudis to continue blocking aid to Yemen

DUBAI • The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen has said it will continue to block the main aid route into the country until it is satisfied its Houthi opponents cannot use it to bring in weapons.

The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen last week following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital, saying it had to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.

Aid agencies warned that the move would worsen the humanitarian crisis in the country, where the war has left an estimated seven million people facing famine.

Ports controlled by Yemen's exiled government would reopen soon, the coalition said on Sunday in a statement issued by the Saudi mission at the United Nations.

However, other ports, including Houthi-controlled Hodeidah - where some 80 per cent of Yemen's food supplies enter - will remain closed until a UN verification regime is reviewed to ensure no weapons reach the Houthis, the statement said.

It said the first steps will start within 24 hours and will include the southern ports of Aden and Mukalla and the Red Sea port of al-Mokha, which are all controlled by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government.

The Houthi movement has warned it could attack warships and oil tankers from enemy countries in retaliation against the closure of Yemeni ports.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2017, with the headline 'Saudis to continue blocking aid to Yemen'. Print Edition | Subscribe