Yemen’s Houthis gear up for Sana’a airport reopening: Sources

Aden: Yemen’s Houthi administration has started renovation work at Sana’a airport, two industry sources said, as the group that holds most of northern Yemen prepares for a possible reopening of the facility under UN-led peace efforts.

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A Saudi Arabian-led coalition has controlled Yemen’s air space since 2015, when the alliance intervened against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement that ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital, Sana’a.

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The coalition’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it had agreed to reopen air space and allow the airport to resume regular operations.

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The industry sources told Reuters that construction work had begun in some parts of the airport, which has been closed since 2015 with the exception of UN flights.

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It has been targeted dozens of times by coalition air strikes over the last six years. The military alliance says the facility is used for arms smuggling.

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Oman’s efforts for peace 

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Airport director Khaled Al Shayef said in a Twitter post on Wednesday that he met Yemenia airlines to discuss maintenance and equipment at the airport, and with the Yemen Oil Company on fuel supplies for aircraft.

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The United Nations and the United States have called for the removal of restrictions on Houthi-held ports and Sana’a airport to ease a dire humanitarian crisis, while also pressing the Houthis to agree to a nationwide ceasefire.

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Riyadh and Yemen’s Saudi-backed government have linked removing the blockade to a truce deal, a condition the Houthis have rejected.

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Oman, a main regional backer of peace efforts which hosts several Houthi officials, this week sent a delegation to Sana’a to push the peace deal with Houthi officials.

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Omani Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for talks, state media reported.

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The coalition has also restricted access to Hodeidah port, the main entry point for Yemen’s commercial and aid imports.

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