Saudi ambassador to US: Yemen’s Houthis have attacked Saudi, UAE and US ships
Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman on Wednesday said the Houthi militia in Yemen have attacked commercial and military ships, including ships belonging to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the US, using advanced anti-shipping systems smuggled into Yemen.
In a series of Twitter posts, Prince Khalid cited the importance of liberating the Houthi-held Hodeidah, Yemen’s main port.
“The liberation of Hodeidah is critical in light of the growing threat that the Iranian backed Houthi militia poses to the maritime security of the red sea, a vital waterway through which about 15% of international commerce passes,” the ambassador said.
“The Houthi’s continued obstruction with regards to Hodeidah is due to their use of the port to raise revenues through looting, extortion, and illegal taxation imposed on commercial ships to finance and sustain their military aggression against Yemen and neighboring countries,” he added.
The Houthi militia have attacked commercial and military ships, including ships belonging to the Kingdom, the UAE, the US, using advanced anti-shipping systems smuggled into Yemen, such as unmanned vessels.— Khalid bin Salman خالد بن سلمان (@kbsalsaud) June 13, 2018
The battle to liberate Hodeidah will be by far the biggest battle of a three-year war between an alliance of Arab states and the Houthi militias that control Yemen’s capital.
Hodeidah, Yemen’s biggest Red Sea port and the only one under Houthi control, serves as the lifeline for the majority of Yemen’s population.
Prince Khalid’s full Twitter statement can be read below:
“The Kingdom has been and will continue to be at the forefront of humanitarian efforts to support the brotherly people of Yemen.
“These efforts included the recent contribution of $1.5 billion to UN relief efforts in Yemen, the largest in UN history, as well as initiatives to enhance the capacity of ports throughout Yemen, including facilitating the entry of cranes into Hodeidah.
“The most effective solution to the situation in Hodeidah, and in Yemen, is for the Houthi militias to adhere to UNSC resolution 2216 which calls for the unconditional Houthi withdrawal from all occupied cities.
“Due to the continued obstruction by the Iranian-backed Houthis of mediation efforts, the former UN envoy to Yemen proposed a plan to hand over control of Hodeidah to the UN.
“The Yemeni government and the coalition have accepted the proposal. Unfortunately, the Houthis, spurred by Iran, rejected this initiative as it did to all other initiatives. The Coalition remains supportive of UN efforts to implement its plan.
“The Houthi’s continued obstruction with regards to Hodeidah is due to their use of the port to raise revenues through looting, extortion, and illegal taxation imposed on commercial ships to finance and sustain their military aggression against Yemen and neighboring countries.
“The Houthis have so far launched 150 ballistic missiles against civilian areas in KSA, latest of which was intercepted today. This reckless aggression, supported by Iran is proof of the Houthis intentions. No nation can accept such a threat to its land and people on its borders
“The Houthi militia have also used the port of Hodeidah as a key entry point of smuggled weapons including Iranian provided ballistic missiles.
“The Coalition’s operations to liberate Hodiedah is part of the Coalition’s unwavering commitment to support the people of Yemen against the tyranny imposed by Iranian-backed militias that are spreading chaos and destruction in Yemen.
“The liberation of Hodeidah is critical in light of the growing threat that the Iranian backed Houthi militia poses to the maritime security of the red sea, a vital waterway through which about 15% of international commerce passes.
“The Houthi militia have attacked commercial and military ships, including ships belonging to the Kingdom, the UAE, the US, using advanced anti-shipping systems smuggled into Yemen, such as unmanned vessels.
“Liberating Hodeidah will enhance the maritime security in the region which is crucial for the global economy.
“Addressing the humanitarian situation in a sustainable and effective manner requires liberating Yemen from the control of Houthi militias, which intentionally disrupt the flow and distribution of humanitarian supplies.
“As we have seen in post-ISIS Mosul, improving the humanitarian situation significantly, requires reinstating legitimate government institutions and providing continued robust international support.”
The United Arab Emirates, a member of the Western-backed alliance, set a Tuesday deadline for the Iran-aligned Houthis to withdraw from the port of Hodeidah under U.N.-led talks.
“These are the last and final hours to get unconditional guarantees that the Houthis will leave the port,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Reuters, but declined to discuss military operations.
Gargash said plans were in place to keep the port operational and urged the international community to pressure the Houthis to evacuate and leave the port intact, without planting mines.
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