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Iran’s 1st aid plane for Yemen to land in Djibouti: Official

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official says the country’s first cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid to crisis-hit Yemen is set to land in Djibouti.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the plane was expected to touch down in Djibouti airport on Thursday before aid would be delivered to the Yemeni people.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting with visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos on Wednesday, where both officials discussed the latest developments in Yemen as well as ways to dispatch relief aid to the war-torn country.

He said that Iran has offered various proposals to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen as Saudi Arabia continues its airstrikes against the impoverished nation.

The Iranian official said the Islamic Republic has so far sent three consignments of food supplies to Yemen through Djibouti, one shipment of medical supplies through Oman as well as a cargo ship of relief aid.

He also said that Iran has coordinated the mission of Nejat (Rescue) cargo ship with the United Nations and that the vessel will dock at Djibouti.

Amir-Abdollahian further reiterated Iran’s preparedness to help facilitate the transfer of humanitarian aid to Yemen in coordination with the United Nations.

“We even proposed that [Iran's southern] Island of Kish turn to a depot for international aid” so that the aid supplies can be immediately delivered to Yemen, he said, adding that and UN officials are to consider the proposal.

The Iranian ship is carrying a group of humanitarian aid workers, medical technicians, and peace activists from the US, France, Germany, and Iran, along with a shipment of humanitarian aid. (IRNA)

Meanwhile, head of the Relief and Rescue Organization of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) Nasser Charkhsaz said that the Nejat cargo ship will head to Djibouti in coordination with Iran’s Foreign Ministry and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Following the necessary legal procedures, the cargo ship will then continue its journey to Yemen, he said.

The vessel set sail from Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on May 11 and is scheduled to arrive in the western Yemeni port city of Hudaydah on May 21.

International activists, volunteer doctors and media personnel are also on board the ship. Iran has coordinated the mission of the ship with the United Nations.

Riyadh has blocked earlier Iranian aid deliveries to Yemen. Last month, it prevented two Iranian civilian planes from delivering medical aid and foodstuff to the impoverished people.

Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 - without a UN mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls the capital, Sana’a, and major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

The photo dated May 18, 2015 shows a Yemeni boy standing amidst the rubble of houses destroyed by a Saudi airstrike on a residential area in the capital, Sana’a, in April . © AFP

Riyadh has even failed to abide by the so-called ceasefire it announced on May 12, repeatedly carrying out deadly air raids against Yemen after the “truce” went into effect.

Over 1,800 people have been killed and 7,330 injured in the conflict in Yemen since March 19, according to the UN.


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