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Saudi considering bombing pauses for Yemen aid delivery


490px-Saudi_Arabia_mapSaudi Arabia is considering temporary halts in coalition air strikes against rebels in Yemen to allow for aid deliveries, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Monday.

The kingdom will consult members of the coalition on “finding specific areas inside Yemen… where all air operations will be paused at specific times to allow for the delivery of aid,” Jubeir said in a statement.

The Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched air strikes in Yemen in late March against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels and their allies after they seized control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled Yemen as the rebels advanced on his southern refuge of Aden, and anti-government forces have refused to concede territory or down arms despite international pressure.

The United Nations has repeatedly warned that impoverished Yemen faces a major humanitarian crisis and calls have been growing for efforts to increase aid deliveries.

Jubeir said Saudi Arabia “plans to establish a centre on its territory to be in charge of coordinating all humanitarian aid efforts” with the UN, donors and other relevant agencies.

He warned the rebels against “taking advantage” of any pause in the bombing.

Saudi Arabia “will deal with any violations in connection with the suspension of air strikes or movements that hinder humanitarian efforts,” he said.

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