RIYADH: The Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen on Wednesday welcomed the UN’s move to inspect the ports of Hodeidah to ensure that they are not used militarily, Saudi state TV reported.
On Tuesday, the UN Mission to Support the Hodeida Agreement demanded the inspection of the three ports in Hodeidah, saying it “stands ready to address concerns pertaining to any militarization of the ports.”
Hodeidah port is a landing station for foreign fighters and ballistic missiles, the coalition said, adding the UN must ensure that foreign fighters do not flow in and that weapons do not reach the Red Sea port city.
UNMHA had expressed “great concern” over claims Hodeidah was being used for military purposes, and demanded access for an inspection, adding that the port was a vital aid route for the impoverished country.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, told the Security Council on Wednesday: “The accusations of the militarization of the ports of Hodeidah are worrying and the threats of attacking them are equally disturbing given that these ports are a lifeline for many Yemenis.”
The UN Mission to support the Hodeidah Agreement was “closely monitoring the situation in the ports and has requested as part of its mandate to undertake an inspection,” Grundberg said.
The envoy also expressed concern about the Houthis’ seizure of the UAE-flagged medical supply ship Rwabee and their detention of UN staff in Sanaa and Marib. “The UN should have immediate access to these staff and be provided with official information pertaining to the arrests,” he said.
India’s ambassador to the UN, T. S. Tirumurti, said the country was “deeply concerned for the well-being” of seven Indian nationals among the crew of the Rwabee.
He demanded their immediate release, and said the Houthis were responsible for their safety until then. The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, also called on the Houthis to release the vessel and crew unharmed.
Grundberg also condemned Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia that had led to “civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.”
The coalition has said that the Houthis’ use of the port made Hodeidah a legitimate military target.
“We will act operationally for self-defense and for military necessity when the militarization of the ports continues,” the coalition said
Later on Wednesday, the coalition said it has destroyed a helicopter that was transported by the Iran-backed Houthi militia from Sanaa airport to the southern Marib front.
The coalition said it is monitoring the transfer of weapons to the frontlines, and that the Houthis must stop any such attempts.
(With AP and AFP)