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UN to carry contents of Iranian aid ship to Yemen as UAE relief reaches Aden

Red Cross to search the Iranian ship before transporting its content to Yemen, as UAE aid shipment arrives in Aden
The harbour in Djibouti where an Iranian cargo ship is headed for a UN inspection (AFP)

An Iranian aid ship now anchored at Djibouti Port will not go to Yemen, but its contents will be carried to the troubled country by a United Nations (UN) World Food Programme ship, an official from Djibouti said on Saturday.

The source, who asked not to be named, said the Iranian ship was being offloaded at the port before inspection in preparation for taking the contents to Yemen.

The World Food Programne will be tasked with carrying the contents of the ship – around 2,500 tons of humanitarian goods – to Yemen in the light of a previous agreement between Iran and the UN, the source, who works at the port, told Anadolu Agency.

He noted that Djiboutian authorities will search the ship, given the fact that the ship is docked within Djiboutian territory.

The ship reached Djibouti Port on Thursday for inspection before its contents were shipped to Yemen.

Djiboutian officials said earlier that the International Committee of the Red Cross would be responsible for searching the ship.

Yemen has been pounded by airstrikes since 25 March by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition established to fight Yemen's formidable Shiite Houthi militant group.

Saudi Arabia says it launched its campaign in response to appeals by Yemen's embattled president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, for help against the Houthis, whose growing influence in the fractious country has alarmed the Gulf states.

Since the start of the campaign, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have imposed a tight naval embargo on Yemen to prevent military supplies from reaching Houthi militants.

Saudi Arabia and its allies accuse Shiite Iran of backing Yemen's Houthi insurgency.

Emirati aid shipment arrives in Yemen's Aden

Meanwhile, a boat carrying 460 tonnes of Emirati relief aid docked on Sunday in Yemen's restive port city of Aden.

The shipment, including medical and food supplies, is the second from the United Arab Emirates, which delivered last week 1,200 tonnes of relief aid, said local aid coordinator Ali al-Bikri.

Another ship carrying 400 tonnes of diesel also arrived on Friday, said Bikri, who was appointed by Yemen's government-in-exile.

The southern city received nothing beyond those shipments by the Emirati Red Crescent, he said.

The United Nations, which plans to hold a conference on Yemen in Geneva next week, says the violence has killed more than 1,600 people and displaced close to half a million more.

Some aid has trickled in during a five-day humanitarian truce, but residents of areas where clashes persisted complained that they lack the most basic supplies. 

Yemeni labourers unload the content of an Emirati ship carrying 1,200 tonnes of food supply, in the port of Aden on 17 May, 2015 (AFP)