It's been about a week since Saudi Arabia locked down Yemen's land borders, air space, and seaports, because, it said, it wants to stop the flow of Iranian weapons to the Houthi rebels that the USA -backed, Saudi-led coalition has been bombing for two years. The missile was intercepted near the capital of the country. For ports in rebel-held or disputed territories, such as the city of Hodeida, the mission said it has asked the U.N.to send a team of experts to discuss ways to make sure weapons can't be smuggled in.
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. 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.
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.
The United Nations insisted its aid operations need access to the ports of Hodeida and Saleef, saying that more than two-thirds of the people in need and 80 percent of all cholera cases are closest to the two ports.
Speaking on behalf of the Kingdom, Saudi Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Mouallimi said that the Coalition would start opening the ports and airports in the liberated areas. "The humanitarian impact of what is happening right now is unimaginable", he said.
"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added. But, said McGoldrick, the blockade puts that progress in jeopardy.
The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said. Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemen war in March 2015 with the stated aim of rolling back the rebels' territorial gains and restoring the government to power.
"We have some 21 million people needing assistance and seven million of those are in famine-like conditions and rely completely on food aid", he said.