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Yemen’s petroleum firm warns of humanitarian crisis amid Saudi siege

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Displaced Yemenis are pictured at a makeshift camp in Yemen’s Ta’izz, on January 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) has urged the United Nations (UN) to take action to prevent an imminent humanitarian crisis as a Saudi-led coalition continues to seize ships carrying necessary oil products to the country.

Speaking at a protest in front of the UN office in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on Friday, the executive director of the YPC, Ammar al-Adraei, held the UN responsible for the humanitarian crisis that would ensue from the world body’s silence about the Saudi-led coalition’s seizure of ships carrying petroleum products to Yemen.

He urged the UN to fulfill its humanitarian duty to have the ships released and to prevent the “acts of piracy” practiced by the members of the Saudi-led coalition.

“The operational activities of the service sectors have begun to collapse as a result of the continued seizure of the fuel ships,” Adraei said. “The lives of 26 million Yemenis are at stake, so we hold the United Nations fully responsible for the humanitarian crisis, war crimes, and genocide.”

He said the UN used the US blacklisting of the Houthi Ansarullah movement as a pretext for its inaction on the issue.

Former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo announced the US labeling of the Houthi Ansarullah movement as a “terrorist” organization on January 10 in defiance of aid groups that feared the decision would worsen a humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country.

The Friday protest was organized by the YPC under the slogan “The massacre of Ras Issa oil terminal is an imprescriptible offense” to mark the fifth anniversary of a fatal Saudi aerial attack on the port.

Meanwhile, civil society organizations and trade unions in Yemen also denounced the Saudi-led coalition’s seizure of the ships, which obtain the required licenses from the UN.

They also urged the UN to ensure the release of the ships, and to end the Saudi siege on the port as well as the Sana’a International Airport.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in order to suppress a popular uprising that had toppled a Riyadh-friendly regime.

The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past years.

More than half of Yemen’s hospitals and clinics have been destroyed or closed during the war by the Saudi-led coalition, which is supported militarily by the UK, the US, and other Western governments.

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