Trump urges Saudis to end Yemen blockade

Trump urges Saudis to end Yemen blockade

President Donald Trump, a vocal supporter of the Saudi leadership, joined the chorus on Wednesday with a surprise statement calling for complete aid access "immediately".

Yemen's Huthi rebels mounted a show of strength in Sanaa on Thursday, holding a mass memorial ceremony for comrades killed in this month's battle for control of the capital.

Trump's official statement urged US officials "to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it".

"This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately". Current estimates suggest that as many as 14,000 people have been killed or wounded, overwhelmingly attributed to the coalition's airstrikes.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a statement in which he said "the latest outbreak of violence could not come at a worse time for the Yemeni people who already are caught up in the world's largest humanitarian crisis".

Number of those who have been internally displaced.

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The announcement came after the kingdom condemned the decision by Trump this week to relocate the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise the latter as the capital of Israel.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) said the first food and fuel had arrived in Hodeidah and Saleef ports, but supplies were at a trickle compared to what was needed, since Yemen's population of 27 million was nearly entirely reliant on imports for food, fuel and medicine.

Trump stopped short of calling for a pause in Saudi-led bombing of the country, which is home to what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The Houthi rebels are backed by an Iranian-led coalition and supported Saleh while the internationally recognized President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is backed by a Saudi-led coalition. The US has also carried out drone strikes against terrorist camps in the country. "Millions will die in a historic starvation and public health crisis if President Trump's call is not heeded". He also noted "the fact that USA support has helped create Yemen's horrific crisis" and called on Washington to cease military assistance if parties don't agree an immediate ceasefire and a political settlement. Before he was killed, Mr Saleh called for the turning of a new page with the Saudi-led coalition.

Almost one million people have contracted cholera, and three million, out of a population of 28 million, are internally displaced, according to the UN.

Mr Saleh ruled Yemen with an iron grip for 33 years before being forced to step down in 2012 as part of popular uprisings against entrenched Middle East leaders.

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