Saudi Arabia reitterates its call to place Hodeida port under international supervision to prevent arms smugging by Iran
The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in Gaza, Friday, March 30, 2018 at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has called on the United Nations Security Council to condemn the Iranian-Al Houthi attack on a Saudi oil tanker in the international waters west of the Red Sea port of Hodeida and to hold Al Houthi militias and their Iranian sponsors accountable for their innumerable crimes against international law.
In a letter addressed by its Permanent Mission to United Nations, Saudi Arabia said the Security Council should take all possible measures to ensure the speedy and comprehensive implementation of Security Council Resolutions 2216 and 2231 to prevent the escalation of Houthi attacks, which have fuelled tensions in the region and the increased the risks of wider regional confrontations, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
“On April 3, 2018, the Iranian-backed Al Houthi militia in Yemen attacked a Saudi oil tanker in international waters west of the port of Hodeida,” Saudi Arabia said in its letter tyo the Security Council.
“This attack was thwarted by the rapid intervention of a naval ship belonging to the Coalition for the Restoration of Legitimacy in Yemen, and resulted in minor damage to the oil tanker, which sailed safely north escorted by a coalition ship.”
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns in the strongest terms this cowardly terrorist attack on the Saudi oil tanker, and expresses its deep concern at the threats being posed by the relentless terrorist attacks by Al Houthis on the freedom of maritime and international trade in Bab Al Mandab and the Red Sea region.
Moreover, by launching this failed terrorist attack on the oil tanker, the outlawed Al Houthis have also showed their indifference to the potential catastrophic environmental and economic consequences of the oil spill in the Bab Al Mandab and Red Sea areas.
“The Coalition will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of maritime navigation and international trade in Bab Al Mandab and the Red Sea regions.”
The statement also reitterated its call to place the Al Houthi-controlled port under international supervision to prevent arms smugging by Iran.
Al Houthis also sent seven ballistic missiles into Saudi territory on March 25, with some targeting Riyadh, killing one person.
The statement said the timing of the terrorist attack intentionally coincided with the visit by Martin Griffiths, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Yemen, to the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
“It was a clear message that Al Houthis reject all UN-led peace efforts,” the statement affirmed.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition entered the Yemeni war in 2015 just months after an Al Houthi coup forced internationally-recognised Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi out of power.
He later was able to escape house arrest and flee to Aden where he temporarily shifted government headquarters.
Since then, the coalition has gained back 86 per cent of Yemeni territory but major population centres still remain under Al Houthi control.
Saudi Arabia and the US have accused Iran of illegally smuggling weapons into Yemen to sustain Al Houthi war efforts.
In December, one such Iranian-made ballistic missile was fired towards Riyadh for the first time in the three-year war.
Although it was intercepted, Riyadh called it an ‘act of war’.
The war has cost the lives of thousands of Yemenis and pushed the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of famine.
In a recent meeting with New York Times editors, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said that Al Houthis have become increasingly isolated politically.
He dismissed the seven missiles Al Houthis fired at Saudi Arabia from Yemen on March 25 as “a last-ditch effort” that only showed they were weak.
Saudi Arabia, he said, is now seeking to end the war through a political process, trying to divide Al Houthis and maintaining military pressure on them.