Saudi Arabia said on Monday that it would lift its curbs on airports and sea ports in Yemen, following criticism over its decision to block access to them in response to a missile attack, AP reported.

On November 8, a United Nations official had warned that millions could die in Yemen in the “largest famine the world has seen for many decades”, if the Saudi Arabia-led coalition does not allow aid to enter the country. This came after the Saudi-led faction closed all points of entry – air, land and sea – to Yemen to stop the Houthi rebels from getting arms from Iran. The Houthis had fired a ballistic missile towards the Riyadh airport on November 4, but Saudi forces had intercepted it.

Saudi Arabia’s mission to the United Nations said that the first step in relaxing the blockade would be taken within 24 hours, which would begin with the reopening of all ports in areas controlled by Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which Riyadh backs.

For ports in territories under Houthi control, Saudi Arabia has asked the United Nations to send a team of experts to find how to ensure weapons are not smuggled in.

However, the backed rebels warned of retaliation, saying that the blockade had “shut down all doors for peace and dialogue”.