Saudi Coalition Agrees To Reopen Yemeni Ports To Humanitarian Aid

Saudi Coalition Agrees To Reopen Yemeni Ports To Humanitarian Aid

The Saudi-led military coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen has announced it will reopen the war-torn country's main global airport in the capital of Sanaa and a vital Red Sea port to give access to humanitarian aid. The reintroduction of commercial traffic to Yemen's ports was also uncertain.

Tillerson's request to Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was one of several United States attempts to ease Riyadh's foreign policy.

Despite pledges from the Saudi led coalition that they would reopen access to Yemen and allow desperately needed aid in, no flights or ships were allowed to arrive in the country yesterday, continuing an 18-day total blockade of opposition held areas.

The coalition had closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen earlier this month following the launch of a missile fired toward the Saudi capital.

The missile was intercepted near Riyadh's King Khalid International Airport, sparking a war of words between Teheran and Riyadh, which accused Iran of "direct aggression" and supplying arms to the Houthis.

Wednesday's announcement says the Sanaa airport and the port of Hodeida will reopen, starting from Thursday.

Haq said the "monitoring these developments and we're trying to see whether that actually takes place on the ground". "If that were to happen that would be a very welcome and critically important development".

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Aid group Save the Children welcomed the coalition's announcement but warned that it was "nowhere near enough to avert a potential starvation in Yemen".

"It is good news", said Jamie McGoldrick, the United Nations humanitarian chief for Yemen.

The conflict in Yemen pits Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen's ousted president against the internationally recognised government and its main backer, the Saudi-led coalition. The airport had been open to only select humanitarian flights. The Houthis are Shiite rebels who control much of Yemen.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemeni government's fight against the rebels.

The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, and displaced over 3 million, according to humanitarian agencies.

The country also faces a deadly cholera epidemic and millions stand at the brink of official starvation.