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Yemen’s Hodeidah port to reopen for ships: Source

YEMEN’S HODEIDAH PORT TO REOPEN FOR SHIPS: SOURCE

The UN has issued permits for commercial and relief vessels to enter the Hodeidah port in western Yemen, according to a local Yemeni source on Monday.

The permits were issued by the Djibouti-based office of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the first ship is expected to dock in the port within hours, the source said on condition of anonymity because he was unauthorized to speak to media.

UNMOVIC office is tasked with inspecting ships heading to Yemen to prevent the entry of weapons for Houthi rebels.

Hodeidah port has been the entry of nearly 80 percent of Yemen's food imports.

According to the Yemeni source, the UN office has issued permits for the ships that had left the port on Tuesday, allowing them to return back.

Yahia Sharaf Addin, Deputy Chairman of the Houthi-held Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, which operates the port, said the foundation has received UN confirmations that the port would be reopened.

"No ship has yet entered the port until this moment and we hope that the UN will be serious about reopening the port," he told Anadolu Agency.

Earlier Monday, Saudi Arabia said the Saudi-led coalition will reopen Yemen's ports, days after closing them over a ballistic missile attack by Houthi rebels on Riyadh.

"The first step in this process will be taken within 24 hours and involves reopening all the ports in areas controlled by Yemen's internationally recognized government'', the Saudi mission at the United Nations said in a statement.

Those ports are in Aden, Mocha and Mukalla in southern and western Yemen.

As for ports in rebel-held areas, the Saudi mission said it had asked the U.N. to send a team of experts to discuss ways to make sure weapons can't be smuggled in.

Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including Sanaa.

The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign in 2015 aimed at reversing Houthi military gains and strengthening Yemen's embattled government.

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