Saudi UN ambassador denies Yemen embargo

UN says Saudi's closure of Yemen's seaports undoes progress in fight against famine and cholera

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for a resolution declaring that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under previous legislation which has given the president power to combat terror overseas and invade Iraq in 2003.

Transport minister Mourad al-Halimi had said Yemenia flights to the pro-government-held cities of Aden and Seiyun would resume on Sunday, but the national carrier said it did not have the necessary permits to fly.

There was global outcry last week when Saudi Arabia blockaded the country's ports after a missile was sacked towards its territory by the Houthi rebels.

Saudi Arabia announced it shut down all ports after a November 4 ballistic missile attack on Riyadh near its worldwide airport by the Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

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

Iran denies arming the Houthis and blames the conflict in Yemen on Riyadh. Millions of lives were at risk because of the blockade, United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said to reporters in Geneva by telephone from Amman.


Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the reopening of the ports was for the "safe transfer of humanitarian actors and humanitarian and commercial shipments" into Yemen.

"This halted 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.

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

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack.

The blockade "is complicating what is already a catastrophic situation", McGoldrick said. However, Saudi Arabia demanded more rigorous checks at the Red Sea port of Hodeida, which is being controlled by the rebels.

"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by" Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the coalition backs, read the mission's statement. The port of Aden controlled by allies of Saudi Arabia but does not have the capacity, according to the United Nations, to handle the necessary volume of humanitarian cargo.

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