The Houthis are calling for the US-supported Saudi blockade on Yemen to be lifted before any ceasefire agreement is made.
“The humanitarian side must be separated from the military one,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in an interview with Al Jazeera that aired on Wednesday.
“We were asked for a comprehensive ceasefire … but the first stage is to open the seaports and airports, then go towards the process of a strategic ceasefire, which is stopping the strikes, missiles, and drones. When the seaport and the airport are open, we’re ready to negotiate,” Abdulsalam said.
The government of exiled Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi rejected the Houthis’ calls and claimed food and other commercial goods have been allowed to enter Yemen. But the Saudis are still blocking ships from entering the port of Hodeidah, and this is despite a warning from the UN that 400,000 Yemeni children will starve to death this year if conditions don’t change.
On Tuesday, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned of the famine and said the blockade was still being enforced. “Right now, 13 fuel ships are waiting outside Hodeidah, carrying two months of imports,” he said.
Last week, a CNN investigation showed food trucks stranded in Hodeidah due to a lack of fuel. If the Saudi-backed government’s claims are true that food is being allowed into Yemen, it cannot be delivered to the civilians starving to death without fuel.