The Saudi-led coalition will keep Yemen’s main port shut for the foreseeable future:
The Saudi-led military coalition fighting in Yemen said it will continue to block the main aid route into the country until it is satisfied its Houthi opponents cannot use it to bring in weapons [bold mine-DL].
The coalition closed all air, land and sea access to Yemen last week following the interception of a missile fired towards the Saudi capital, saying it had to stem the flow of arms to the Houthis from Iran.
Keeping the port of Hodeidah closed even for a short time guarantees that many innocent Yemenis will die from hunger and preventable disease. Hodeidah is the country’s main port and the lifeline for most of the population, so keeping it closed will have terrible consequences for millions of people. The coalition has no right to condition the opening of the port on anything, and as long as they keep the port closed they are violating international law and make it more likely that there will be massive loss of life from famine.
Strengthening the U.N.’s inspections will mean that the very slow process of bringing in vital supplies will become even slower than it was. That will make the food and medicine that make it through too costly for the most of the population. The coalition has already repeatedly delayed or diverted shipments of food and medicine that were approved by the U.N.’s verification mechanism, so it is clear that stopping arms shipments is just an excuse. They have used the blockade to try to starve Yemen into submission for years, and they will keep doing that even if the port is reopened. In order to address Yemen’s humanitarian crisis effectively, the coalition blockade has to be completely lifted and there should be no more interference with the delivery of aid.