The Saudi-led Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen has launched military and humanitarian operations to restore the Hodeidah Port, west of Yemen, in response to a request by the Legitimate Government of Yemen and in support of the Yemeni army’s efforts. The aim is to ensure that the Yemeni people get unhindered access to humanitarian aid and supplies after wresting control of the port and securing international waterways. All these practical objectives [of restoring hope] are reasons for the Saudi-led Coalition’s military intervention in Yemen. These objectives represent the request by the Legitimate Government of Yemen and relevant United Nations resolutions for the year 2015, particularly Resolution 2216.
The liberation of Hodeidah is critical for bringing the peace process back on track and moving forward from the current stalemate in the negotiation process that is the result of Houthis’s intransigence due to the important role the port played in for them to smuggle Iranian weapons into Yemen, as well as enjoy the revenues earned from the port.
Iran has been providing the Houthi militia with heavy weapons, especially ballistic missiles. This has encouraged them to repeatedly reject all initiatives and proposals for political solutions put forward by many international and regional parties, as well as outcomes of the national dialogue and the Gulf initiative.
This military operation has been launched after repeated calls by the Legitimate Government of Yemen and the Coalition member nations to the Houthis to hand over the control of Hodeidah Port to the United Nations failed and the militia group refused to leave the port which it had been using for arms-smuggling operations and seizing humanitarian aid and selling them on the black market.
The military operation to wrest control of Hodeidah Port aims to stop arms smuggling, ensure the security of maritime traffic – the militias have used it to target international maritime traffic more than once – and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. The aim of the operation is to improve the living conditions of Yemeni people and alleviate the suffering inflicted on them by the Houthis.
In addition, the liberation of Hodeidah Port will ensure the transfer of all the port’s revenues to the Central Bank of Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition will work closely with international relief agencies operating in Yemen to ensure that the needs of civilians are met, and will begin implementing the necessary plans to rehabilitate and reactivate the port so it can be used optimally for the access of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, especially the residents of Hodeidah province.
The Saudi-led Coalition reaffirms its continued commitment to international humanitarian law and to protect civilian objects and infrastructure, as well as to support the work of humanitarian and relief organisations.