The Red Cross yesterday turned down a call from Riyadh for aid workers to stay out of rebel-held zones of Yemen war.
The mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross “often necessitates crossing frontlines” and securing access to combat zones, the ICRC’s Sanaa spokeswoman Rima Kamal said.
“To reach all those in need in Yemen ... we will continue to seek security guarantees from all parties and in all regions,” she said.
“We have no plans to change that for the time being, and we remain committed to operate in all regions and to do everything possible to reach the civilians affected.”
According to a letter seen by AFP on Thursday, Saudi Arabia has asked the UN to move aid workers away from rebel-held areas as the Riyadh-led coalition presses on with air strikes in support of the Yemeni government.
UN aid chief Stephen O’Brien said in a letter to Saudi Arabia’s UN ambassador, Abdallah al-Mouallimi, that relief organisations were “delivering life-saving assistance as per internationally recognised principles and will continue to do so.”
Responding to O’Brien, the ambassador said the request should not be “misinterpreted to indicate any hindrance to humanitarian access and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in Yemen”.
O’Brien told Saudi Arabia that aid workers would continue to inform coalition authorities of their movements.
UN and international aid workers have passed on their co-ordinates to coalition military authorities to ensure they are not inadvertently
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