Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

Arab Coalition Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki speaks at a press conference in Riyadh. (File photo / Reuters))
Updated 24 September 2018

Arab coalition in Yemen sets up civilian safe corridors from Hodeidah to Sanaa

  • Progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians, says spokesman
  • Iranian naval vessel disguised as a registered commercial ship found spying on ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb

JEDDAH: The Arab coalition fighting in support of the legitimate Yemeni government has established three safe corridors for civilians to travel between the cities of Sanaa and Hodeidah.

Spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said on Monday that the corridors between the former capital that was seized by the Houthi militia in 2014 and the country’s biggest port on the Red Sea have been set up in cooperation with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“The coalition is working with OCHA in Yemen to establish safe humanitarian corridors to help in the delivery of aid... between Hodeidah and Sanaa,” Al-Maliki told a press conference in Riyadh.

Al-Maliki said progress in Hodeidah has been slow because the Coalition wants to avoid harming civilians there. He said Yemen's Houthi militia continues to use civilians as human shields in the city of Hodeidah, and have taken oil tankers heading for Sanaa.

He also accused the Iranian regime of continuing "to violate international law and destabilize the security of the region and the world.”

Al-Maliki reported that the coalition had discovered what was thought to be an Iranian-registered commercial ship but was actually a military ship named Safiz. The Iranian vessel is monitoring ships passing through the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb by using listening devices.
He said the coalition will continue to watch “suspicious” ships that threaten international navigation.

Al-Maliki said the corridor being opened in Hodeidah is part of an effort to ensure the safety of civilians. Corridors will be on different routes between the cities for the transportation of humanitarian aid between 6 am and 6 p.m. daily, Al-Maliki said without specifying a date.

An OCHA statement confirmed the organization was in "ongoing discussions with the coalition and other stakeholders on safe, reliable access routes into and out of Hodeidah". 

Hodeidah port is a vital lifeline for aid shipments to Yemen, the most impoverished country in the Arab world.

The UN has warned that any major fighting could halt the distribution of food to eight million Yemenis dependent on aid to survive.

The coalition spokesman also revealed what happened during the visit of UN special envoy, Martin Griffiths, to the Kingdom with Mohammed Al-Jabir, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen. Al-Jabir briefed Griffiths on the Saudi and coalition states’ effort to support humanitarian operations in Yemen, and the Saudi development and reconstruction program for the country. 

The ambassador reaffirmed the support of Griffiths’ efforts to reach a political solution in Yemen.
The Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande also recently visited Saudi Arabia, where she said she was particularly grateful to donors for the generous donations that they have made.
She was also thankful that health care is provided to millions of Yemenis. Furthermore, Grande mentioned how the World Food Program is distributing food to eight million Yemenis.
Several relief ports are open for Yemen (air, sea, land) and the total maritime permits issued by Hodeidah port from the Joint Forces Command from Sept. 17 to 24 is 31,242. The air permits during the same period were 5,928 passengers and 103 flights. As for land permits during this period, there were 12.

Meanwhile, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) in the city of Marib on Monday celebrated the rehabilitation of 26 children recruited by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and were used as human shields in the armed conflict.

The children completed the fifth and sixth phase of the rehabilitation process, which aimed at rehabilitating 80 child soldiers from several Yemeni governorates, with the help of a KSRelief team, representatives from the local authority and a number of parents.

The child soldiers presented ceremonial segments that reflected their psychologically and social rehabilitation efforts.

The center was working to rehabilitate 241 children from different Yemeni governorates as part of its plan to rehabilitate 2,000 Yemeni child soldiers.

Trump: Saudi arrests in Khashoggi death ‘a good first step’

Updated 35 min 59 sec ago

Trump: Saudi arrests in Khashoggi death ‘a good first step’

  • Trump said that Saudi Arabia has been a great ally
  • The president said he wanted to talk to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on what to do next

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Arizona: US President Donald Trump on Friday called Saudi Arabia's announcement that suspects are in custody in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi a "good first step" and said he would work with Congress on a US response.

The president spoke to the media at a defense roundtable in Arizona hours after Saudi Arabia claimed that Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor last seen on Oct. 2, was killed in a "fistfight" at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The kingdom also said that 18 suspects were in custody and that intelligence officials had been fired.

Asked by a reporter whether he thought Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death was credible, Trump said, "I do. I do." But he said before he decided what to do next, he wanted to talk to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"Saudi Arabia has been a great ally, but what happened is unacceptable," Trump said. Regarding the Saudi arrests, he said, "It's a big first step. It's only a first step, but it's a big first step."