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U.N. signals not responsible for controlling Yemen's main airport

U.N. signals not responsible for controlling Yemen's main airport
From Reuters - August 11, 2017

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations signaled on Friday it was not responsible for controlling Yemen's main airport, dismissing a call by a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for the world body do so.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen on Thursday asked the United Nations to take control of the airport in the capital Sanaa, which is in territory controlled by the rival Houthi rebelmovement, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

Yemen has been torn apart by a civil war in which the internationally-recognized government, supported by the Saudi-led coalition, seeks to push back gains made by the Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric called on the warring parties to allow humanitarian aid access including through the airport.

"(The airport) is not under U.N. control," Dujarric told reporters. "The parties to the conflict have the responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians and their access to humanitarian relief, including through the use of airspace and airport."

The Houthis control most of the north while the Saudi-led coalition controls the airspace. Any reopening would need an agreement between the two sides, which blame each other for Yemen's humanitarian disaster - one of the world's worst.

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