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'No Indication' Saudi Coalition Reopening Yemen Ports

'No Indication' Saudi Coalition Reopening Yemen Ports

After a November 4 ballistic missile attack near the Riyadh global airport by Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia had announced it shut down all ports in Yemen.

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 Houthis that was intercepted near Riyadh.

The ambassador also said the Houthi-controlled ports, including Hodeida, should remain closed and he called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to send a delegation to Riyadh to "review current procedures to enhance and deliver a more robust verification and inspection mechanism aimed at facilitating the flow of humanitarian and commercial shipments while preventing the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, missile parts and cash".

Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow reports from Djibouti.

He said that a United Nations 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.




McGoldrick said the Saudi plan to supply Yemen through the Saudi port of Jizan in the north and Aden in the south was too complicated, dangerous, slow and expensive, adding an estimated $30 per tonne to every shipment.

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

So far, Saudi wants to bring supplies into Yemen via the ports of Jizan and Aden, a plan McGoldrick said was risky and slow. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy. Humanitarian agencies have been making gains in fighting starvation as well as the deadly cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,200 and made almost 1 million people ill. "The humanitarians are just holding things together, waiting for a peace process which is very much in the distance".

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

The strike "led to the total destruction of the VOR/DME radio navigation system, taking it offline and thus halting the only flights at Sanaa airport - those of the United Nations and other worldwide organisations delivering humanitarian assistance", the rebel-run General Authority for Civil Aviation said in a statement.