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Saudis Open Yemeni Port of Hodeidah—for Now; U.S. Lawmakers Demand More Be Done

Dec. 21, 2017 (EIRNS)—Apparently bending to international pressure, the Saudis have announced they will reopen the Yemeni port of Hodeidah for a minimum of 30 days, to allow entry of food aid and commercial fuel "to the brotherly Yemeni people." The port "will remain open for humanitarian and relief supplies and the entry of commercial vessels, including food and fuel vessels," according to a statement from the Saudi government-run news agency.

On at least two occasions over the past month, President Trump has publicly urged the Saudis to lift the blockade of Yemeni’s ports, to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country. Last night, The Hill reported today, a group of U.S. lawmakers wrote to the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates urging them to

"implement a humanitarian plan of action that will end the blockade of Yemen, provide for humanitarian and commercial access to all of Yemen’s seaports, airports, and land crossings—including Hodeidah port, Sana’a airport, and other points of entry not under the Hadi government’s authority."

The letter’s signatory, Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Human Rights Commission co-chairmen, Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) said opening the Hodeidah port for 30 days was not good enough.

"The size and pace of these gestures are not proportionate to the emergency on the ground," they said, warning that millions of civilians are at risk of starvation and disease because of the rapidly-deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

In a briefing this afternoon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Tim Lenderking reported that the United States would speak to the Saudis about possibly changing the 30-day timeframe, but added that first, the United States wants to see ships moving in and goods and services reaching the Yemeni people, Voice of America reported.

The urgency of putting an end to the genocidal Saudi war on Yemen was driven home by today’s announcement by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), that cholera cases in Yemen have now reached the one-million mark, Xinhua reported. The ICRC added on its Twitter page that more than 80% of the population lacks food, fuel, clean water and access to health care. Moreover, in October, the country was hit by a diphtheria outbreak, and vaccines needed to treat diphtheria are about to run out.