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Trump demands Saudis allow aid into Yemen 'immediately'

Trump demands Saudis allow aid into Yemen 'immediately'”

In a rare signal of disagreement with close ally Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump urged the kingdom Wednesday to immediately lift its embargo of Yemen, citing the impoverished nation's humanitarian crisis.

But, in a statement, Trump said he had asked aides to contact the Saudi leadership and "to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it".

Riyadh has imposed a blockade on Yemen's ports after a Huthi missile was intercepted near Riyadh airport on November 4.

On December 5, the UN Security Council warned of "the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen", saying the country "stands at the brink of catastrophic famine" largely due to the blockade.

Seven million people are believed to be on the brink of starvation and a cholera outbreak has caused more than 2,000 deaths.

The intervention in Yemen has been led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has otherwise received praise from Trump and the US media for his progressive reforms that have included allowing women the right to drive a vehicle and diminishing the role of Saudi Arabia's religious police. Current estimates suggest that as many as 14,000 people have been killed or wounded, overwhelmingly attributed to the coalition's airstrikes.

Number of those who have been internally displaced.

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

The new round of fighting caused an aggravation of the world's worst humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Arab country.

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.

The U.S. and its allies have played a major role in Yemen by assisting Saudi aircraft in refueling, providing intelligence, and selling billions in arms and military equipment.

"President Trump's public call for Saudi Arabia to end the blockade is long overdue but hugely important", Mr Scott Paul, humanitarian policy lead at Oxfam America, said in a statement on Wednesday. Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East.



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