United Nations calls on Saudi coalition to open Yemeni seaports

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The United Nations has listed Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation. The coalition closed all air, land and sea ports in Yemen last week in response to a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.

On Monday, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of the capital Sanaa to protest the closure of the country's ports by the Saudi-led coalition. "I think it poses a critical threat to the lives of millions who are already struggling to survive".

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".

The US-backed coalition has been at war with the Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, since March 2015.

He did not give any reasons for the reopening of the port, which is located in the south of the country - though the coalition greatly controls Aden.

Al-Mouallimi told reports from NY that the Coalition would conduct this process in complete agreement with Yemen's internationally recognized government, to allow the safe delivery of humanitarian aid. "The humanitarians are just holding things together, waiting for a peace process which is very much in the distance".

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF had only three weeks of vaccine supplies left in Yemen, and both UNICEF and the World Health Organization had shipments of essential medicines and vaccines blocked in Djibouti, McGoldrick said.

Yemen's national airline said on Tuesday a commercial flight had landed at Aden global airport after acquiring security permits, a step that will ease a blockade on one of the poorest Arab nations. He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days.

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