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Houthis must let UN experts board Red Sea oil tanker: UK's Cleverly

Published: Updated:

The Houthi militia must allow United Nations experts to board a decaying oil tanker floating in the Red Sea, said the UK's Minister for Middle East & North Africa James Cleverly on Friday.

On Thursday, the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen reportedly gave long-awaited approval to the UN to visit and assess the FSO Safer, which is deterioriating in the Red Sea. The tanker holds 1.1 million barrels of crude oil, which are at risk of causing an environmental disaster off Yemen's coast.

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While Houthi representative Hussein al-Azzi said on Sunday that the militia had agreed to allow the UN onboard, the arrangement has not yet materialized amid warnings that the time to stop the spillage could be limited.

On Twitter, Cleverly joined the voices calling for immediate access to the ship.

“As I have said before, it is vital that the Houthis allow UN experts on board the FSO Safer oil tanker without delay,” he said.

“The initial agreement between the parties is progress, but not enough has been done to stop the devastating effect an oil spill poses to Yemen and the Red Sea.”

Read more:

Iranian-backed Houthi militia approves UN plan to assess decaying Yemen oil tanker

Saudi Arabia warns UN of oil spot near decaying Safer tanker off Yemen’s coast

UN urges Iran-backed Houthis to grant access to abandoned ‘Safer’ oil tanker in Yemen