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Saudi blockade of Yemen violates US law: Trump nominee

Press TV – December 20, 2017

President Donald Trump’s nominee for the top legal adviser at the State Department has acknowledged that Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Yemen violates US and international law, according to a report.

In written statements to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before her confirmation Tuesday, Jennifer Newstead signaled a stricter interpretation of statutes that ban US foreign assistance to countries blocking or hindering the flow of humanitarian aid, the Foreign Policy magazine reported.

Newstead said warnings from international aid organizations “raise a substantial question” on whether the Saudi-led coalition has deliberately impeded the transport of aid to civilians in Yemen.

The United Nations has warned that millions of people will die in Yemen due to famine unless the Saudi-led coalition ends its devastating blockade on the southwestern port of Hudaydah, through which about 80 percent of food imports arrive.

A shortage of fuel has shut down many water treatment and pumping stations, aggravating an already deadly outbreak of cholera. The UN warned earlier this month that 8.4 million people were one step away from starvation.

International aid officials have described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Newstead promised to provide firm answers to Congress on the issue within 30 to 45 days after being sworn in. Newstead’s responses indicate that the White House might be willing to take a tougher line with Saudi Arabia over the military aggression in Yemen.

The answers also cleared the way for Newstead’s confirmation on Tuesday, which had been blocked by Senator Todd Young, Republican of Indiana, and two of his colleagues over concerns about the humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Young and others have condemned Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, particularly its blockade on vital shipments of humanitarian aid by air and sea to ports controlled by Houthis.

They accuse Riyadh of violating the Geneva Conventions and the US Foreign Assistance Act, which prohibits US aid for countries that impede the flow of humanitarian aid. The US president, however, can still make an exception and provide assistance to a country that hinders aid.

The US has been providing logistical support for the Saudi coalition as well as precision-guided munitions.

Tuesday marked the 1,000th day of the Saudi war in Yemen. Thousands of Yemenis took to the streets, condemning the deadly airstrikes and calling on Arab states to stop contributing to the Saudi-led coalition.

December 20, 2017 - Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , ,

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