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1ST LEAD EU aid commissioner praises 'initial measures' to lift Yemen blockade By Ramadan Al-Fatash, dpa

By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Cairo (dpa) - The EU aid commissioner on Saturday welcomed "initial measures" taken by Saudi authorities to resume operations in Yemen but warned that the blockade on the war-torn country needed to go.

"Measures to resume operations in Aden port and to open al Wadea border crossing are a step in the right direction," said Christos Stylianides, but they‘re not enough to prevent mass starvation.

"The EU urges the Coalition to ensure the immediate resumption of the UN‘s flights and activities in the ports of Hodeida and Saleef and the opening of land borders for humanitarian relief and basic commercial commodities," he added in the statement on Saturday.

The United Nations and several humanitarian groups this week have warned repeatedly that millions could die in Yemen from famine if the blockade, which includes relief aid, was not lifted.

Broadcaster Al Arabiya had earlier reported that a Saudi-led alliance had lifted a blockade of two key airports in Yemen, amid warnings that millions could starve without deliveries of food aid.

The bloc closed all of Yemen‘s main air and sea ports on Monday, a move it said was aimed at stopping the flow of arms to Iran-backed Houthi rebels. The blockade came in response to a ballistic missile fired at the Saudi capital Riyadh by the Houthis two days earlier.

"The coalition re-opened Aden and Seiyoun airports," said Murad al-Halimi, the transport minister of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, according to Saudi broadcaster Al Arabiya.

He added that scheduled flights by national carrier Yemeni Airways would resume on Sunday.

The coalition continues to block traffic at the main airport in the rebel-held capital Sana‘a.

Yemen, one of the Arab world‘s poorest countries, became locked in a devastating power struggle between the government and rebels in 2014. The conflict has created a humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

Aid groups say 17 million out of Yemen‘s 27 million people suffer from food insecurity. 

In March 2015, Saudi Arabia and Sunni allies started an air campaign against the Houthis after they began advancing on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the internationally recognized government.

Saudi Arabia fears that the rebels will give its Shiite rival Iran a foothold in the Arabian Peninsula.


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