U.S. President Donald Trump has called on U.S. ally Saudi Arabia to end its blockade of Yemen “immediately,” citing concern that the war-torn country is on the verge of famine.
“I have directed officials in my administration to call the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to request that they completely allow food, fuel, water, and medicine to reach the Yemeni people who desperately need it,” Trump said on December 6.
“This must be done for humanitarian reasons immediately.”
A Saudi-led coalition aligned with Yemen’s government has imposed a blockade on the country as part of its battle against Huthi rebels aligned with Iran in the country’s three-year civil war.
On December 5, the UN Security Council warned of “the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen,” saying the country “stands at the brink of catastrophic famine” largely due to the blockade.
Global antipoverty group Oxfam praised Trump for taking Riyadh to task. The United States has been providing the Saudi coalition with weapons.
“Millions will die in a historic famine and public health crisis if President Trump’s call is not heeded.” said Oxfam America official Scott Paul.
Yemen’s stalemated war has killed over 10,000 civilians and displaced 3 million.