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'Unjustified' Saudi siege on Yemen complicating conflict: Foreign ministry

Yemen's deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Azzi

The Yemeni foreign ministry has slammed the ongoing Saudi siege imposed on Yemen as “unjustified”, warning that it would complicate the situation in the war-wracked Arab country.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television network reported early on Monday that the deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Azzi said the ongoing Saudi siege could lead to a more complex stage, urging “the wise people” top avoid it.

He stressed that the continuation of the blockade is “unjustified and unnecessary arbitrariness.”

The siege is also “a crime” and “an ongoing offense to a neighboring nation that aspires to peace and good neighborliness.”

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies — including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015. The war was meant to eliminate Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstall a former regime. The conflict, accompanied by a tight siege, has failed to reach its goals, but has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people.

Essam al-Mutawakel, a spokesman for the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), said earlier this month that the Arab country was experiencing the toughest crisis since the start of the Saudi aggression and siege nearly seven years ago.

Yemen’s Minister of Oil and Minerals Ahmad Abdullah Dares has warned that the Saudi seizure of ships carrying petroleum products to Yemen could lead to the suspension of the service sectors and cause “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The Yemeni army and popular committees have intensified their retaliatory attacks against targets deep inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE in response to the Saudi siege.

Air traffic suspended at Jeddah airport

On Sunday, Yemeni forces targeted facilities belonging to Aramco in several Saudi cities and other strategic positions in the kingdom as part of the operation “Breaking the Siege 2”.

Lebanon’s El-Nashra news website cited local sources as saying that air traffic at Jeddah international airport was disrupted due to the missile attack that targeted a facility of Aramco in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

According to the report, the attack left flights unable to land at the airport.

Earlier on Sunday, the Saudi Energy Ministry said the output of the kingdom’s oil refinery in the city of Yanbu dropped temporarily after a Yemeni retaliatory attack.

‘Yemen graveyard for aggressors

Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, during a session on Sunday, praised the latest retaliatory attacks carried out by the Yemeni forces and their allied fighters, especially the operations “Breaking the Siege 1 & 2”.

The council reiterated that “Yemen is a graveyard for invaders”, adding that member countries of the Saudi-led coalition “would pay price” for the crimes they committed against the Yemeni people.

The council also criticized the Saudi calls for peace as “not sincere”, describing it as a “usual prelude to a large-scale military escalation”.

The statement comes as the Saudi-based Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) invited the Ansarullah resistance movement and other Yemeni parties for talks.

Ansarullah declined to attend the talks, stressing that it would welcome talks to discuss a peaceful settlement to the ongoing conflict if the venue is a “neutral country”, and that the priority is lifting “arbitrary” restrictions on Yemeni ports and Sana’a airport.

The Supreme Political Council also noted that Sana’a is interested in the establishment of “real peace”, that guarantee the rights of the Yemeni people, but rejects calls for subordination.

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