United Nations dismisses Saudi conditions to reopen Yemen port

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Rebel authorities in Yemen said on Tuesday that a Saudi-led air strike had destroyed a navigation station at Sanaa global airport, which is critical to receiving already limited aid shipments.

On Monday, Riyadh said the Saudi-led coalition would reopen Yemen's ports, days after closing them over a ballistic missile attack reportedly perpetrated by Houthi rebels on the capital.

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.

The UN on Tuesday called on the Saudi-led coalition to open all of Yemen's seaports in order to let humanitarian aid through.

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted for a resolution declaring that U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen is not authorized under previous legislation which has given the president power to combat terror overseas and invade Iraq in 2003.

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Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi told reporters in NY on Monday that ports in government-controlled areas such as Aden, Mukalla and Mocha will be reopened.

McGoldrick says access to such ports is "helpful" but that the key need is access to the rebel-held Red Sea ports of Salif and Hodeida, closer to large population centers. According to the UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up.

"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added.

McGoldrick underscored that United Nations aid was the main lifeline for most of Yemen's population, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation. He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port.

The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in 2015 aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and strengthening Yemen's embattled government.

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