Martin Griffiths
United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths (C), shakes hands with Houthi officials upon his arrival at Sanaa airport in Sanaa, Yemen January 5, 2019. Image Credit: REUTERS

Abu Dhabi: The Yemeni Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Al Houthi rebels’ closure of Sana’a airport to relief flights, including those of the United Nations, accusing them of continuing to trade in the suffering of Yemenis.

The government said in a series of tweets that the closure of Sana’a airport by the Al Houthis is “a desperate attempt to cover up their theft of more than 50 billion riyals of oil derivative proceeds in Hodeidah, earmarked for paying civilian employees’ salaries in Yemen.”

It added it has approved the UN envoy’s proposal to reopen Sana’a airport to direct international commercial flights, for Yemeni airlines, more than four months ago, confirming the Al Houthis’ refusal to do so.

Increase in fuel

The Yemeni government clarified that from January to August 2020, the amount of fuel imported to Yemen increased by 13 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, noting that the current fuel crisis in Al Houthi-controlled areas is a systematic fabrication.

In another tweet, it said that more than 2.3 million tonnes of petroleum products were imported to Yemen from January to August sufficient for Yemen’s needs for more than 11 months, of which more than half was distributed to Al Houthi-controlled areas, most of which arrived through the port of Hodeidah.

Earlier, the Al Houthi rebels announced the suspension of all United Nations and humanitarian agency flights to Sana’a International Airport, blaming a lack of fuel.