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The United Nations has rejected a call by Saudi Arabia and its allies to supervise a Houthi-held Yemeni port, where tens of refugees were killed last week in an aerial attack blamed on Riyadh.
The Saudi call came after more than 40 people lost their lives and dozens of others were injured in an apparent Saudi airstrike that hit a boat carrying Somali refugees near Bab al-Mandeb Strait on Friday.
Riyadh and its allies have denied being behind the air raid despite witness accounts citing an Apache helicopter - which is only used by Saudi Arabia in the war on Yemen - to have attacked the vessel.
Reacting to the call on Monday, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said the warring sides in Yemen are responsible for protecting civilian infrastructure and civilians, adding, “These are not obligations they can shift to others.”
Saudi Arabia called for jurisdiction over Hudaydah port to be transferred to the UN while the humanitarian situation in Yemen has dramatically deteriorated amid a Saudi blockade, which has put the impoverished country on the brink of widespread famine.
Last week, the World Food Program (WFP) warned that 60 percent of Yemenis, or 17 million people, were in “crisis” or “emergency” food situations.
“The humanitarian community delivers assistance in Yemen solely based on needs and not on political considerations, and will continue to do so through all available means,” added Haq.
The United Nations also called on Monday for an inquiry into the attack.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to make proper inquiries to ensure accountability and to prevent this from happening again,” the head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, said.
2017.03.21 / 15:44