On Wednesday, it was reported that the Saudi-led coalition gave clearance for four fuel ships to dock at Yemen’s Hodeidah port, controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi group. The sources, familiar with the matter, said that the ships have been carrying 45,000 tons of gas oil, 5,000 tons of liquified petroleum gas (LPG), and 22,700 tons of fuel oil. Yemen’s internationally recognized government had approved the entry of vessels, the sources added. According to a statement issued by the Yemeni Foreign Ministry, the vessels had been allowed to dock at Hodeidah port to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in the country, but any further details had not been given.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan introduced a new initiative on Monday, including a nationwide ceasefire and the lifting of the air and seaports blockade, to end the long-lasted war in Yemen. However, the Houthis’ spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam did not find the Saudi initiative favorable and said that the lifting of the blockade is a humanitarian issue and should not be used for political and military gains. The Saudi plan would only be approved in the case of lifting an air and sea blockade, Abdulsalam said.
The recent move that allowed fuel ships to enter Hodeidah port came after these statements. The United States also welcomed the development. In his statement, U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “The free flow of fuel and other essential goods into and throughout Yemen is critical to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance and other essential activities.”
The blockade is being accepted as one of the main reasons for the worsening of the humanitarian situation in Yemen. On the other hand, the Saudi-led coalition and some relief agencies have been accusing the Houthis of hampering aid activities.