UN dismisses Saudi conditions to reopen Yemen port

The United Nations on Tuesday dismissed a Saudi demand that tighter inspections be put in place at Yemen's rebel-held Hodeida port before a devastating blockade is lifted. 

Published: 14th November 2017 07:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th November 2017 07:54 PM   |  A+A-

Saudi Arabia's flag used for representation. (Photo | AP)

By AFP

GENEVA: The United Nations on Tuesday dismissed a Saudi demand that tighter inspections be put in place at Yemen's rebel-held Hodeida port before a devastating blockade is lifted. 

The Saudi-led coalition fighting rebels in Yemen shut down the country's land, sea and air borders a week ago in response to a missile attack by the Iran-backed Huthis that was intercepted near Riyadh.

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

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in New York on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened, but demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida.

The UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up. 

"The humanitarian impact of what is happening here right now is unimaginable," he told reporters in Geneva in a phone conference. 

"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added. 

"The humanitarian aspect of this is something we need to address immediately because we can't have those ports closed or those airports closed while we wait for discussions on new (inspection) mandates to go ahead."

McGoldrick underscored that UN aid was the main lifeline for most of Yemen's population, seven million of whom are at risk of famine. 

He said that a UN verification and inspection mechanism already in place could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing new procedures but that keeping ports closed in the interim was not viable. 

Stocks of diesel and petrol are running out in parts of Yemen because of the blockade, while the prices of basic goods have skyrocketed. 

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

Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to push back the Iran-backed Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa, and restore the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.