08:58 GMT +323 January 2020
Listen Live
    Middle East
    Get short URL

    Right after infuriating the Muslim world by announcing that he’d move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, US President Trump called for Saudi Arabia to lift its blockade on Yemen and allow food and other supplies into the famine-stricken country.

    "I have directed officials in my administration 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," Trump said in a brief statement Wednesday.

    "This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately," he added.

    A blocked on Yemen was imposed by Saudi Arabia last month after Houthi rebels fired a missile at the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Following the attack, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that while pro-Saudi government already controls 85 percent of the country, "anything less than 100 percent is… problematic," according to a New York Times essay on the crown prince.

    However, facing increasing international pressure as hunger in Yemen grows more widespread, the Saudis did lift the blockade partially, the Hill reports. Saudi Arabia continues to obstruct the transportation of food, fuel and medicine the war-torn country so desperately needs, however.

    Yemen faces the worst outbreak of cholera in recent history, with nearly 1 million people contracting the disease, Bloomberg reports. Three million people out of a population of 28 million, are internally displaced, according to UN figures.

    United Nations World Food Program head David Beasley said Yemen right now is on the "brink of famine," and UN head of Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock reportedly agrees with him.

    "It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims," Lowcock said last month, according to the Independent.

    Trump's call to end the blockade contrasts his public praise of bin Salman, who has led the Yemeni campaign, for his "efforts to clamp down on terrorism and corruption" in his own country, Bloomberg notes. Bin Salman is behind the anti-corruption sweep that has arrested more than 200 people in Saudi Arabia and exposed corruption to the tune of more than $100 billion. Critics argue that the anti-corruption movement is actually a power grab.

    Yemen has been in the grip of a civil war since 2015. The internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, supported by the Saudi-led coalition, is fighting the Houthi movement backed by army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed in fighting this week.


    The Forgotten War: Conflict in Congo Worse than ‘Syria, Yemen and Iraq’
    Houthis Ready to Hand Over Body of Ex-Yemen President Saleh to Family - Official
    Yemen Clashes Death Toll Stands at 234 - ICRC Representative
    Yemen's Houthis Vow to Release Reporters They Are Holding - Official
    Family of Missing Sputnik Freelance Reporter in Yemen Unaware of His Fate
    cholera, famine, blockade, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik