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Saudi-led coalition releases 2 out of 10 seized Yemeni fuel ships

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)
The picture taken on May 14, 2019, shows a general view of the Hudaydah port in Yemen, west of the capital Sana’a. (Photo by AFP)

The Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) says the invading military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has released two out of ten seized fuel ships belonging to the impoverished country.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the company quoted tanker shipping firms as saying that the coalition of aggressors is still holding eight Yemeni tankers of fuel meant for public consumption.

The popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which is running state affairs in Sana'a, says the Saudi-led coalition and the self-proclaimed government of former Riyadh-backed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have confiscated the vessels carrying fuel and prevent them from entering the port of Hudaydah, a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

Such measure, it added, has caused a fuel shortage over the past months.

Two weeks ago, YPC Executive Director Ammar al-Adhrai announced that the total damage caused by the US-Saudi coalition’s seizure of tankers has reached $34.5 million this year.

"The seized tankers are licensed by the United Nations and international organizations,” he added. “The lives of 26 million Yemenis are in danger as a result of the theft of tankers and their continued confiscation.”

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military aggression against Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with a number of its allied states, and with arms and logistics support from the US and several Western countries.

The aim was to return to power the Hadi regime and crush the Houthi movement which has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government in Yemen.

The war has failed to achieve its goals, but killed tens of thousands of innocent Yemenis and destroyed the impoverished state’s infrastructure.

Fuel shortages have knocked out water pumps, generators in hospitals and disrupted aid supplies across Yemen.

‘Saudi Arabia must release Yemen’s frozen assets, oil revenues’

Reacting to the report, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council of Yemen, said in a tweet that before any assistance, Saudi Arabia must make up for the damage it has caused to Yemen due to the military aggression and siege of its southern neighbor.

"Saudi Arabia should ask the US Navy to let the seized ships enter the Yemeni port of Hudaydah," he said. “If Saudi Arabia wants to rebuild its image with the aid it claims to be for Yemen, it must return the assets it has frozen since 2015, as well as Yemen's oil revenues. The alleged Saudi aid is meant to support its war, siege [of Yemen] and mercenaries.”

Saudi Arabia has proposed what it calls a peace initiative to end its six-year-old war in Yemen. The offer includes a nationwide ceasefire and the conditioned reopening of Sana'a airport and Hodeidah port on the Red Sea coast.

Yemenis have said the offer is nothing new and called for a meaningful end to the war and the siege on their country if Riyadh truly seeks peace. They have demanded the release of impounded oil tankers as the first real step toward peace.

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