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United Nations dismisses the Saudi demand to re-open the Yemen Port

15 November 2017

Almost 80 percent of imports-commercial and humanitarian-come through Hodeida and Saleef ports, both to remain shuttered by Saudi Arabia.

The fiery comments came even as Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it will begin reopening airports and seaports in Yemen — those in areas not controlled by the rebels — after days of closing them over a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

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

The announcement from the Saudi mission at the United Nations came after the coalition fighting Yemen's rebels, known as Houthis, faced widespread global criticism over the closure, with the U.N. and over 20 aid groups saying it could bring millions of already suffering people closer to "starvation and death".

The war gripped Yemen is facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis that is set to affect millions of civilians, as aid shipments have been blocked from entering in the country via land, air, and sea.

Al-Mouallimi also accused the Houthis of diverting humanitarian aid "to fulfill their own requirements" and "to trade in the black market and achieve exorbitant profits at the expense of the Yemeni people".

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in neighbouring Yemen in March 2015 to push back the rebels who control the capital Sanaa, in an attempt to restore the Hadi government to power. Jamie McGoldrick is United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country.

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said.

Is Yemen Saudi Arabia's Ukraine?

The civil aviation department of Yemen said on Tuesday that the Saudi-led Arab coalition fighting rebels in Yemen inflicted an airstrike on the Sanaa global airport, which resulted in the destruction of its navigation system.

The coalition said on Monday it would re-open ports in areas held by allied forces.

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

Since Saudi Arabia has closed the Hodeideh Port in western Yemen, civilians have been at a high risk of starving to death or dying from an illness due to the lack of medicine. Houthis, on the other hand, have denied the allegation.