United Nations calls on Saudi coalition to open Yemeni seaports

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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.

The Saudi-led coalition said it will not re-open a Yemeni key port to aid shipments, in a move that tightens the blockade on the Arab impoverished country which has been under brutal aggression by the coalition for almost three years.

"We would ask that the coalition opens all the seaports as a matter of emergency and allows humanitarian and other supplies to move as well as aid workers", UN Yemen Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick told reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman.

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However, the port of Hodeidah on the western coast, where almost 80 percent of Yemen's food imports have gone through, is still closed. He said the flights would increase gradually over the coming days. The humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged Yemen is now one of the deadliest in the world as starvation and lack of medical supplies leave millions at risk - the Saudi blockade of Yemen has added to the country's woes.

After a November 4 ballistic missile attack near the Riyadh worldwide airport by Houthi rebels, Saudi Arabia had announced it shut down all ports in Yemen.

Despite the Saudi announcement, a top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels on Monday vowed retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its blockade of his war-torn country.

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World Health Organization officials say more than 8,600 people have died since fighting broke out in Yemen in March 2015.

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".

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