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Arab Coalition Supporting Yemen’s Legitimacy Asks UN to Operate Sana’a Airport | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sana’a International Airport. (AFP)

Riyadh – The Arab Coalition to Restore the Legitimate Government in Yemen asked on Thursday that the UN operate Sana’a airport. It revealed that it has followed up on reports published by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen regarding banning commercial flights from and to Sana’a International Airport.

Official Spokesman of the coalition Colonel Turki al-Malki said that the Joint Forces Command had and is still working to its best efforts to ensure the safe arrival of all commercial, cargo and relief flights to all Yemeni airports in Sana’a, Aden, Hodeidah, Seiyun, Mukalla and Socotra through issuing proper flight permits for all incoming requests, and assigning Bisha National Airport for air traffic management in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2216.

“Closing Sana’a airport and limiting it to relief efforts came as a precaution to ensure the safety of all inbound commercial and cargo flights, due to the Houthi armed militia’s attempts to smuggle arms into the country,” he said.

According to Al-Malki, the Coalition has assigned airports in liberated and secure cities as alternatives at the request of the Yemeni government, adding that the precautionary measures should not be stigmatized as a cause of suffering for the Yemeni people.

The Colonel also clarified that the number of flight permits issued to every Yemeni airport since the beginning of operations has reached 5,765 for commercial, cargo and humanitarian relief flights. The UN was asked to contribute in resuming flights from and to Sana’a airport through managing airport security and putting the legitimate Yemeni government fears to rest.

“Should airport management and security be conducted properly, ensuring the safety of all inbound flights and stopping arms smuggling, the Joint Forces Command is prepared to restore normal flight activity,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yemeni sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that fierce clashes erupted among Houthi militants in the Hodeidah province, leading to dozens of injuries and the escape of more than 70 conscripts from the area.

The clashes specifically erupted in the valleys located near the eastern port of the coastal city.

“Houthis are now stationed in positions near the port as they seek to prevent any party from controlling the area,” head of the Youth Union in the Tihamah district, Dr. Mataab al-Jabli told Asharq Al-Awsat.

There were several requests to place the port under UN supervision to facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, and end the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking.