UN Rejects Offer to Control Sanaa Airport, Leaving Saudi Blockade Intact

Says Keeping Airport Open Up to Combatants

Two days after complaining about the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen caused by the closure of the Sanaa Airport, the United Nations has issued a statement rejecting an offer to directly solve this concern by turning the airport to UN control.

The Saudi naval blockade of Yemen has greatly limited access to humanitarian aid, particularly in the country’s north. The Sanaa Airport would be a good alternative route, but a lack of fuel has meant the airport can’t support aid flights, as cargo planes couldn’t refuel to leave.

Just the airport’s closure is believed to have killed in excess of 10,000 people in the past year, and while the Saudis are offering to let the UN run the airport for the sake of humanitarian aid flights, the UN has ruled that out.

UN officials maintain that it is the responsibility of the combatants to ensure humanitarian aid can flow, and that makes keeping the airport open their problem. As a plain fact, however, they aren’t keeping the airport open, and the UN is unwilling to do anything to see to it the airport stays open.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.