Maronite Patriarch Arrives in Saudi Arabia

Senseless to give Saudi Arabia land to combat terrorism says Muslim scholar

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Lebanon's head of the Maronite Catholic Church, Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi, made his historic first trip to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Tuesday.

Girls react as they stand near their damaged house at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike near Yemen's Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi reiterated at a news conference at United Nations headquarters in NY on Monday that closed seaports and airports will start reopening within the 24 hours promised late Sunday.

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF had only three weeks of vaccine supplies left in Yemen, and both UNICEF and the World Health Organization had shipments of essential medicines and vaccines blocked in Djibouti, McGoldrick said. Saudi Arabia and its allies have said the tightening of restrictions on Yemen is a direct response to a missile attack against Riyadh earlier this month, claimed by the Iran-backed Huthis.

Saudi's official media blamed its regional foe Iran for supporting the Yemeni rebels with long-range ballistic missiles.

The Houthis control most of the north, including Sanaa and its worldwide airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace.

Tuesday's move to ease the blockade came three days after the coalition reopened Aden seaport and Alwadiah land border crossing between Saudi Arabia and northeast Yemen, but the coalition has kept the Houthi-controlled northern ports shut.

McGoldrick was speaking to reporters in Geneva by phone from Amman, because he said flights into Sanaa were blocked.

The Houthis control most of the north, including Sanaa and its worldwide airport, while the Saudi-led coalition dominates the airspace.

Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of supplying the ballistic missile used in that attack. The United Nations now lists Yemen as the world's number one humanitarian crisis, with 17 million people in need of food, seven million of whom are at risk of starvation.

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