Saudi-led coalition denies accusations of blocking aid to Yemen
The Saudi-led Arab coalition waging war on Houthi rebels in Yemen has denied claims from rights group that accuse it of blocking aid and goods bound for civilians in the conflict-scarred country.
Officials supporting Yemen's UN-backed government said "the coalition is not imposing a siege or an economic boycott on Yemeni territory," according to the SPA state news agency.
The coalition "is fulfilling its duties towards implementing UN resolutions that aim to prevent weapons and ammunitions" reaching Yemen, it added.
International rights group have consistently accused the Arab coalition of blocking access to basic goods from reaching the country which is home to more than 20 million people - half of which live below the poverty line.
A statement responded to claims by Human Rights Watch and Paris-based Doctors Without Borders in particular for "belittling the efforts of coalition forces and their positive role in delivering humanitarian aid and facilitating access for commercial goods and fuel products."
"Coalition forces give immediate and regular permits to all aid ships to reach all Yemeni ports, without being inspected," said the coalition, which controls air and sea access into the control, in a statement released late on Friday.
It insists that 1,462 permits have so far been granted for commercial shipments entering Yemeni territory, including those heading to the rebel-controlled Red Sea port of Hudaida.
The "humanitarian catastrophe" in Yemen is not caused by a lack in food or fuel supplies, the coalition said, accusing the rebels of "creating a black market."
More than 6,400 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led coalition intervened to support Hadi's government after Houthi rebels seized control of the capital.
Another 2.8 million people have been displaced and more than 80 percent of the population urgently needs humanitarian aid, according to UN figures.