Riyadh decries UN inaction over Yemen arms

Cairo: Saudi Arabia, which is leading an Arab coalition in Yemen against Al Houthis, has criticised the UN inaction against arms smuggling to the Iran-allied militants, the official Saudi news agency reported Sunday.

The criticism was voiced in a message sent to the UN chief Antonio Guterres and the international Security Council.

“The kingdom notes with sorrow that the Security Council failure to confront the flagrant violations of its resolutions, particularly those related to the ban on weapons, has allowed Iran to provide the terrorist Al Houthi militias with major weapons,” Saudi ambassador to the UN, Abdallah Al Mouallimi, said in the message.

He also cited Al Houthis’ access to a cache of ballistic missiles, drones and sea mines. “Al Houthis use these illegally acquired weapons in threatening regional stability in the Middle East and maritime navigation in the Red Sea and the Bab Al Mandab Strait,” the Saudi agency quoted the envoy as saying.

Last month, Saudi authorities temporarily halted its oil exports through the Red Sea waterway of Bab Al Mandab after Al Houthis attacked two of its tankers. The kingdom later resumed the shipping.

In 2015, the Arab Coalition, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen against Al Houthis after the militiamen advanced on the southern city of Aden, the temporary capital of the country after their takeover of the capital Sana’a.

In June, government forces, supported by the coalition, unleashed a major offensive to expel Al Houthis from the Red Sea city of Hodeida and its crucial port in west Yemen.

The forces have since made territorial progress in the West Coast region.

Pro-government forces are conducting a large-scale operation to clear mines left behind by Al Houthis, Yemeni news portal Adan Al Ghad reported Sunday.

Military engineers have removed hundreds of landmines randomly planed by the Iran-aligned rebels in farms and residential districts in the West Coast since the demining began on Saturday, the site said, citing a military source.

“This campaign will continue until all liberated areas on the West Coast front are cleared of mines and explosives,” the source added.

Hodeida is strategically important because of its harbour, which is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis, as most of the commercial imports and relief supplies enter through it to the country.

The coalition accuses Al Houthis of taking advantage of their control of the harbour to obtain weapons from their Iranian patrons as well as confiscate aid intended for Yemenis in order to sustain their war efforts.

The battle for Hodeida, controlled by Al Houthis since late 2014, is the biggest in Yemen’s war.


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