The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Monday condemned recent missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, while voicing its concern over the escalating violence in Yemen and calling on the Houthi militia to immediately grant access for UN experts to a decaying oil tanker.
“The Members of the Security Council reiterated their endorsement of the Secretary-General’s call of 25 March for those fighting in Yemen to immediately cease hostilities, and condemned the recent UAV and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia as well as escalations of aerial and ground violence in the Yemen conflict,” a statement from the UNSC read.
Members of the Security Council spoke of their support for Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and his efforts to reach agreement on a nationwide ceasefire.
The Arab Coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the UN-recognized government to power in Sanaa, after it was ousted from the capital by the Iran-backed Houthis in late 2014.
The UNSC added that there needs to be a resumption of an inclusive Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process, as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative.
However, deep concern was expressed by Security Council members over the “slow pace of negotiations and called on the parties to agree to mediated proposals with haste.”
A recent ceasefire announced between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council was praised by the UNSC, while the member states called for implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement.
As for the oil tanker, 1976-built FSO safer, it has been left deserted since 2015 when the Houthis captured it. The tanker is believed to still be holding nearly three million barrels of oil.
Earlier this month, Michael Aron, the British Ambassador in Yemen, warned of a catastrophic disaster to the Red Sea if the tanker was left unchecked.
“The Houthis should allow the United Nations to address the situation before it is too late,” Aron said.
On Monday, the UNSC called for immediate access to the tanker, warning of an environmental, economic and humanitarian catastrophe for Yemen and its neighbors. In its statement, the UNSC “underscored the need for the Houthis to immediately grant unconditional access for UN technical experts to assess the tanker’s condition, conduct any possible urgent repairs, and make recommendations for the safe extraction of the oil, ensuring close cooperation with the UN.”