Thousands protest in Yemen against Saudi-led blockade

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne during a visit earlier this year to Saudi Arabia to promote the Australian defence industry

For ports in rebel-held or disputed territories, such as the city of Hodeida, the mission said it has asked the U.N.to send a team of experts to discuss ways to make sure weapons can't be smuggled in.

A top leader of Yemen's Shiite rebels who are at war with a Saudi-led military coalition is vowing retaliation against the oil-rich kingdom over its disastrous blockade of the war-torn country.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen announced a suspension of border crossing via air, marine and land routes following a ballistic missile fired from Yemen targeting Saudi capital Riyadh on November 6. In a statement, Saudi's permanent United Nations representative said he confirms that "steps are being taken by the [Saudi-led] Coalition in full consultation and agreement with the Government of Yemen, to start the process of reopening airports and seaports in Yemen to allow for the safe transfer of humanitarian actors and humanitarian and commercial shipments".

Saudi Arabia announced it shut down all ports after a November 4 ballistic missile attack on Riyadh near its worldwide airport by the Shiite rebels known as Houthis. But the rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida remains closed.

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The Saudi-led coalition hopes that will prevent "the smuggling of weapons, ammunitions, missile parts and cash that are regularly being supplied by Iran and Iranian accomplices to the Houthi rebels", the statement said. "This will have no impact on our operations once they resume", Mr McGoldrick said.

Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the reopening of the ports was for the "safe transfer of humanitarian actors and humanitarian and commercial shipments" into Yemen.

"I don't think discussions (on new inspections) should hamper the port remaining open", he added. According to the UN's aid coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, there was no time to wait for a new inspection system to be set up. He underscored that a United Nations verification and inspection mechanism is already in place and could work with the Saudi-led coalition on implementing strict procedure but Saudia has to open the port.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also said Tuesday that it is alarmed at the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen following the blockade. Saudi Arabia is backing supporters of ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against rebels called the Houthis, who are backed by Iran and allied with militants supporting former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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