The United Nations food agency says it welcomes a statement from Yemen's Houthi rebel leadership saying they will investigate theft and other abuses related to food relief to the impoverished country.

Herve Verhoosel, spokesman for the World Food Program, told reporters Friday in Geneva that misuse of food aid also happens in areas controlled by the government but that it is of "lower volume."

"This is an issue that affects not just WFP but all aid agencies working in Yemen and indeed in war zones everywhere," he said.

WFP on Monday threatened to suspend some aid shipments to Yemen if the rebels did not investigate and stop theft and fraud in food distribution, warning that the suspension would affect some 3 million people.