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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Saudi-led coalition to allow aid into Yemen's Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport

The move comes after the coalition closed Yemen's borders and shut access to its sea and air ports in response to a missile attack on Riyadh

The Saudi-led coalition said it would allow aid access to Yemen's rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida. AFP PHOTO / ABDO HYDER
The Saudi-led coalition said it would allow aid access to Yemen's rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida. AFP PHOTO / ABDO HYDER

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen says it will provide access for aid to be delivered through Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport.

The move, announced on Wednesday by the official Saudi Press Agency, comes after the coalition closed Yemen's borders and shut access to its sea and air ports on November 6 in response to a missile attack launched by Yemen's Houthi rebels that targeted Riyadh's international airport.

The coalition, which includes the UAE, said the decision to allow aid through Hodeidah and Sanaa would take effect on Thursday.

Both the port at Hodeidah and Sanaa airport are held by the Iranian-backed Houthis who the coalition is fighting on behalf of the internationally-recognised government of president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

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In a statement carried by SPA, the coalition said it had taken the decision to allow aid through the ports after completing "a comprehensive review of the inspection and verification procedures used to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the provision of weapons and military equipment to the Houthi militia and their supporters".

Before Wednesday, the coalition had eased some restrictions on ports controlled by the Yemeni government, but aid agencies had called for more to be done to allow a free flow of aid into the country.

On Thursday last week, the leaders of the World Health Organisation, the UN children's agency and the World Food Programme issued a joint appeal for the further easing of restrictions at ports.

It came a day after Save the Children said an estimated 130 children or more were dying every day in Yemen from extreme hunger and disease, with more than 50,000 already believed to have died in 2017.