White House applauds decision to ease Saudi blockade in Yemen

General view of Sanaa International airport Sanaa Yemen

Speaking to the Tasnim News Agency, Nasruddin Amer said bin Salman has recently threatened that the Riyadh-led aggression against Yemen would not stop and that the Saudi regime will not allow "another Hezbollah" to be formed in Yemen.

Ahmed Ben Lassoued of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said 32 flights have been cancelled since November 6, when the coalition ordered a tightening of the Yemen blockade.

"This will further increase the vulnerability of millions of Yemenis with limited access to clean water and threatens to reverse gains made in combating cholera", the United Nations aid agency OCHA added.

In an interview just before the coalition made the announcement, McGoldrick told The Associated Press that a continued blockade would make Yemen's long-suffering population more vulnerable to cholera and starvation. Two days later, the Saudi-led coalition announced it would reopen the Sanaa airport and the key Port of Hodeida for humanitarian purposes the following day.

The coalition had said it would lift its blockade of the port from Thursday but it remains in place.

Seven million Yemenis are completely dependent on relief supplies for their survival, according to the UN.

A second flight carried Russian diplomats, according to an airport official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.




The UN children's fund UNICEF said Saturday's flight was carrying more than 15 tonnes, or 1.9 million doses, of vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and other preventable diseases.

Saudi Arabia levied an air, land and sea blockade on the country in early November after the Iranian-backed Houthi group fired a ballistic missile into the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh.

The missile was struck down but it was the farthest a projectile by the rebels, also known as Houthis, had penetrated into the kingdom. The two ports are under the control of the Houthis.

The coalition, which intervened in the Yemeni conflict on March 2015 to back the Sunni government of the Yemeni exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has said it is planning to give clearance to aid ships only, but has yet to say whether it will allow commercial imports to access the rebel-held sea ports. More than 2,200 people have died.

Major agencies said aid was still blocked a day after the Saudi-led military coalition said it would let humanitarian supplies in.

Since Nov. 6, the United Nations and worldwide aid agencies have repeatedly urged the coalition to lift the Yemen blockade.

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