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Yemen’s president urges Houthis to allow humanitarian aid

Yemen’s president on Thursday urged his government’s rival, the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, to stop impeding the flow of urgently needed humanitarian aid.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s plea aired more than a week after an international watchdog organization warned that all sides in Yemen s conflict were interfering with the flow of food, health care supplies, water and sanitation support.

Hadi’s remarks came in a prerecorded speech to the U.N. General Assembly’s virtual summit, and also asked that they allow a U.N. team immediate access to an abandoned oil tanker that risks causing massive environmental damage to the Red Sea.

Hadi spoke from Saudi Arabia, where he has been living during the more than five-year-long war that has ravaged the Arab world’s poorest nation on the western tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Hadi represents the internationally-recognized government of Yemen that was pushed out of the capital, Sanaa, in late 2014 by the Houthis A Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi has been at war in Yemen ever since, sparking the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. Millions have been displaced, pushed into poverty and live on the brink of famine.

“We are trying to save our country and establish a just and lasting peace,” Hadi said, blaming Iran for meddling in his nation. “The objective is to stop the blood-letting in Yemen.”

Multiple attempts by the U.N. to broker a peace deal have failed to end the conflict. Also, separatists in the south, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have long demanded succession from Houthi strongholds in the north.

In addition to the humanitarian toll, the Yemeni government in exile, the U.N., and western diplomats have been sounding the alarm and putting pressure on Houthis to secure the decaying oil tanker near the port of Hodeida, which the group controls

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