UN liberation of Hodeidah port long overdue

UN liberation of Hodeidah port long overdue

Dockers unload wheat provided by UNICEF at Hodeidah. (AFP)

The Arab coalition, including Saudi Arabia, has consistently offered solutions for the Yemeni crisis. One of those solutions has been to ask the UN to supervise the Hodeidah port. This port holds importance for the region due to the Houthi militia using it to smuggle arms into Yemen, which prolongs the war and conflict in the region generally. Controlling the port is one of the fastest ways to end the conflict.

Secondly, the port of Hodeidah is the primary receiver of humanitarian relief, despite the numerous other ports across the country. This is due to the Houthis restricting trade access to the other ports. The UN has agreed to send aid through Hodeidah according to the Houthis’ demands. Despite this compliance, the militia has consistently stolen the aid and prevented it from reaching the civilians that are in need. This perpetuates the suffering of the people of Yemen.

The Arab coalition has requested UN intervention over the past three years. The first time the legitimate Yemeni government requested assistance from the UN was in 2015. The UN’s refusal to address the issue and provide intervention and assistance has perpetuated the crisis and increased the humanitarian disaster that the Houthi militia has caused. 

The port of Hodeidah is the primary receiver of humanitarian relief, despite the numerous other ports across the country. This is due to the Houthis restricting trade access to the other ports.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths has now announced that the organization may supervise the port of Hodeidah. This long-awaited announcement is welcomed and appreciated by the legitimate Yemeni government. The Yemeni government understands the necessity of the port being under the control of the UN and its end goal is to have a peaceful, unified Yemen.

Today, Griffiths is preparing for consultations in Stockholm, Sweden, between the UN, the legitimate Yemeni government, and the Houthi militia. Griffiths, who will be in Riyadh to continue his tour of the region, has met with three Houthi leaders but they have failed to appoint a representative for the Stockholm consultations due to internal disorganization and conflict.

The Houthis have once again requested that Griffiths allow wounded militia members to travel outside of Yemen to seek medical treatment. The legitimate Yemeni government and the Arab coalition have refused this request in the past due to intelligence suggesting that the wounded are in fact not Yemeni but Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah.

After the request for the transport of wounded militia members was declined, the Houthi militia has refused to participate in the UN’s consultations with the Yemeni government. This unsurprising result only further proves that the UN liberation of the port of Hodeidah is long overdue. This liberation is necessary to end the conflict in Yemen, restore power to the legitimate Yemeni government, and to prevent further suffering of the Yemeni people.

  • Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri is a political analyst and international relations scholar. Twitter: @DrHamsheri
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