Saudi mulls partial truces in Yemen for aid delivery
Saudi Arabia is considering temporary halts in coalition air strikes against rebels in Yemen to allow for aid deliveries, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said yesterday.
The kingdom will consult members of the coalition on "finding specific areas inside Yemen... where all air operations will be paused at specific times to allow for the delivery of aid," Jubeir said in a statement.
The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched air strikes in Yemen in late March against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies after they seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa.
President Mansour Hadi fled Yemen as the rebels advanced on his southern refuge of Aden, and anti-government forces have refused to concede territory or down arms despite international pressure.
The United Nations has repeatedly warned that impoverished Yemen faces a major humanitarian crisis and calls have been growing for efforts to increase aid deliveries.
Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "plans to establish a centre on its territory to be in charge of coordinating all humanitarian aid efforts" with the UN, donors and other relevant agencies.
He warned the rebels against "taking advantage" of any pause in the bombing.
The United Nations has called for a humanitarian pause in the conflict, as relief agencies say they desperately need supplies, including fuel to run infrastructure such as hospitals. It warned that key infrastructure in the war-torn country, including water supplies, health services and telecommunications, are on the verge of breaking down due to a major fuel shortage.According to UN, at least 1,200 people have been killed in fighting in Yemen since March 19 and at least 300,000 people have been displaced.