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WASHINGTON has again been accused of piracy after its navy helped prevent 17 ships carrying much-needed food and aid from reaching war-stricken Yemen, which recorded its first case of coronavirus on Friday.
The US and its Saudi Arabian allies stopped 14 oil tankers and three vessels loaded with other fuel, despite them having the required permits to enter Yemen.
Marine forces prevented the ships from reaching their destination and the Yemeni Oil Company confirmed on Sunday that 12 of the oil tankers were being held in the port of Hudeyda.
“We are facing a new case of piracy by Saudi Arabia and its allies,” Yemeni TV station Al-Masirah reported.
Red Sea Ports Corporation vice-president Yahya Sharaf al-Din warned yesterday that the Saudi-led coalition was keeping the people of Yemen under siege.
He accused the Washington of “partnering” with the belligerents in the continued aggression and the denial of much-needed aid.
Yemen has been subjected to a five-year bombing campaign by Riyadh and its Gulf allies, using weapons and tactical military support from Britain, France and the US.
Allegations of war crimes, including missiles strikes on schools, hospitals and other vital infrastructure, are being investigated by the United Nations.
In one sickening attack, an air strike killed a group of schoolchildren travelling back from a picnic. Saudi Arabia insisted that their coach had been a legitimate target.
More than 10,000 people have died as a result of the bombing campaign, which has also left some 24 million — 80 per cent of the Yemeni population — reliant on humanitarian aid.
The UN has warned that the country is on the brink of the world’s worst famine for a century.
Nonetheless, Washington cut off aid to Yemen last month, in a decision described by a United States Agency for International Development spokesman as “a last resort.”
The Trump administration came under fire for cutting vital lines of support to the country during the Covid-19 crisis after its first confirmed case of the virus was reported on Friday.
Yemen officials say they have just “700 ICU beds and 500 ventilators to equip a country with a population of about 30 million.”
A Saudi ceasefire announced last week was dismissed yesterday as “a fraud and misleading to the world” by the head of the Yemeni National Delegation, who said an “air and ground escalation” continues along with the siege.
“If there was a serious effort and a real will towards peace, the UN security council would have issued an explicit resolution to stop the absurd war and lift the unjust siege, not be contented with a meagre statement,” he said.
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