UNITED NATIONS, The Saudi-led military coalition will reopen seaports and airports in areas controlled by the Yemeni government, but those in rebel hands, including the key seaport of Hudaydah, will remain closed, a Saudi Arabian envoy to the UN said here.

The first step in the reopening of the ports will take place within 24 hours, involving the seaports of Aden, Mukalla and Mocha and the airports at Aden, Seiyun and Socotra, said Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Nations.

As for the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, it will not be reopened unless a stricter UN verification and inspection mechanism is in place, the Saudi envoy told reporters.

The Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting against Houthi rebels in Yemen and is trying to restore the government of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, has requested UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to send experts to Riyadh to develop a more robust verification and inspection mechanism to prevent the smuggling of weapons and missile parts from abroad through rebel-held ports.

The Saudi-led coalition blocked land, sea and air access to Yemen, after Saudi Arabia intercepted a missile launched by Houthi rebels towards the Saudi capital city of Riyadh on Nov 4.

On Monday the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that, the blockade is leading to severe shortages of commercial and aid materials reaching Yemen.

The entire population of Yemen is dependent on food, fuel and medicine imports, primarily through seaports. More than 17 million Yemenis, or more than two-thirds of the population, are already food insecure, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, at the daily news briefing.

Without the import of critical commodities through a lifting of the blockade on all ports, including Hudaydah and Saleef, the situation will further deteriorate, Dujarric warned.

The World Food Programme said that the current stock of rice will run out in 111 days and stock of wheat will run out in 97 days.


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