United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged the Saudi authorities to lift the blockade imposed on Yemen and to reopen the country’s sea, air and ground ports immediately.
The UN chief’s spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said yesterday: “The Secretary-General is very much disappointed we’ve not seen a lifting of the blockade. The Secretary-General and his humanitarian team are heartbroken at the scenes we’re seeing from Yemen.”
“This is a man-made crisis,” continued the UN spokesman, adding that Guterres had called it a “stupid war”.
During a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Dujarric revealed that Guterres had written a letter to Saudi Arabia’s UN envoy Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, regarding the blockade imposed by the Saudi-led coalition on Yemen since 6 November. He urged Riyadh to lift the blockade that “is already reversing the impact of humanitarian efforts”.
The coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen’s ports after the Houthis fired a ballistic missile on the King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh two days prior.
Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a.
In 2015, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and shoring up Yemen’s embattled government.
According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 per cent of the country’s population has been displaced.