Saudi aid official says Houthis can’t be trusted for truce

Senior Saudi Arabian aid chief says he wishes for real truce in Yemen, but Iranian-backed Houthi rebels cannot be trusted

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

People stand at the site of a Saudi-led air strike that hit a food storage warehouse in Yemen's capital Sanaa October 25, 2015.

The head of the Saudi Arabian center that coordinates humanitarian assistance for Yemen said Saudi Arabia would like to see a realistic cease fire in war torn Yemen to allow for the delivery of the much needed humanitarian aid, but it does not trust the Iranian backed Houthi rebels to abide by such a truce.

"From our previous experience the cease fire was not acknowledged and it was violated," Abdullah al Rabeeah, general supervisor of the five-month-old King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, told reporters on Monday.

"If there is a cease fire it has to be a realistic cease fire."

Attempts at a humanitarian truce have failed in the past several times, with both warring parties blaming each other for violations.

Saudi Arabia sees Houthis as proxies for Iran. The Kingdom accuses Iran of trying to spread its influence into Arab states including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has responded to the Yemeni president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s plea to “save Yemen” from Houthi aggression, so the Saudi-led military operations started in late March of this year.

The UN has declared the situation in Yemen to be a level-three humanitarian emergency, the highest on its scale, after about 80 percent of the country’s population fell into dire need of humanitarian aid.

Twenty million people in the country are in need of aid, 13 million are facing food shortages and 9.4 million are having difficulties accessing drinking water.

The needed aid to Yemen usually arrives via shipments, however those shipments are frequently blocked by the Saudi-led coalition forces, in efforts to stop arm deliveries to the Houthi militants.

UN aid chief Stephen O'Brien sat next to al Rabeeah at a news conference on Monday and said Yemen’s Hodeida port had been compromised, the port O’Brien warned commercial ships of approaching in August.

"The first and the best humanitarian response for the fighting is to stop and that is what is urged at all times on all the parties engaged," O'Brien said.

He said the United Nations had come up a mechanism to inspect any suspicious vessels but was still trying to raise the $8 million needed for it to be operational. In efforts to make Yemen reachable for commercial shipments.

The war-torn country only received 1 percent of its monthly commercial fuel needs in September.

TRTWorld and agencies