UNSC Urges Saudis to Allow Aid Into Yemen

UNSC Urges Saudis to Allow Aid Into YemenUNSC Urges Saudis to Allow Aid Into Yemen

The United Nations Security Council and UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien on Thursday pushed for more aid and commercial access to Yemen, where a near total blockade by Saudi Arabia has slowed shipments to the war-torn Arabian Peninsula country to a trickle.

Commercial cargo ships carrying food, fuel and other vital supplies must be allowed to reach ports in Yemen which is threatened by famine, the UNSC said Thursday.

O'Brien said 80% of Yemen's 25 million people needed help and half the country was just one step from famine. Yemen imports nearly all its goods and O'Brien said commercial shipments had dropped to 15 percent of the pre-crisis levels, World Bulletin reported.

"Let's be absolutely clear, it's vital that we get commercial ships back in," O'Brien told reporters, adding that a lack of fuel prevented the delivery of aid within the country.

"The health system is facing imminent collapse with the closure of at least 160 health facilities due to insecurity and lack of fuel or other critical supplies."

Moreover, a United Nations envoy will hold talks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in the coming days on a draft peace proposal for Yemen with the aim of reaching a "preliminary agreement" between Yemen's warring factions, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who led the Geneva talks, will travel to Kuwait on Saturday and then spend a week in Riyadh before moving on to Yemen's capital Sanaa for a further week of consultations, UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters.

This is while airstrikes by a Saudi-led alliance hit positions across Yemen on Friday, according to witness reports.

Ten people were killed in air raids in Jawf, a northern province bordering Saudi Arabia, residents said. Fighter jets also struck Sanaa, the Houthis' northern stronghold in Saada, as well as the provinces of Marib, Shabwa, Bayda and Aden in the center and south of the country.