Saudi denies threatening UN over blacklist

Saudi Arabia denied threatening the UN to remove the coalition fighting in Yemen from a blacklist of child rights violators

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Saudi Arabia on Thursday denied threatening to cut-off humanitarian funding to pressurize the United Nations into removing the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen from a blacklist of child rights violators.

"We did not use threats or intimidation and we did not talk about funding," Saudi Ambassador to the UN Abdullah al-Mouallimi told reporters.

“I want to reassure you that first of all it is not in our style, culture to use threats and intimidation, we have the greatest respect for the UN institution and for secretariat and certainly for Ban Ki-moon,” the Saudi envoy said.

Al-Mouallimi denied his government had pressured the UN into reversing its decision by threatening to cut off millions of dollars in funding.

He said Saudi Arabia is “committed to continuing to work closely with the UN” and that the kingdom cannot break relations with the international body, as it is considered one of its founding members.

A Security Council diplomat earlier said the Saudis had "whipped up a lot of supporters" to pressure Ban to make the changes and threatened in particular to withdraw funding from the Palestinian relief agency UNRWA.

In this regard, the Saudi envoy said: “We did say that such listing and such unfair treatment of Saudi and coalition will have an impact on our relation with the UN, but we didn’t talk about funding of UNRWA or anything else.”

He added that the UN secretary general could have misunderstood the Saudi discussion over the blacklisting.

“I have the highest respect for the secretary general. How the secretary general perceived the meanings, how he interpreted the discussion is up to the secretary general.”

Al-Mouallimi added that the UN report which added the Saudi-led coalition to a list of children's rights violators was done without consultations with Saudi Arabia.

“The procedures in accordance with Security Council resolution 1612 of 2005 that established the mandate were simply not followed. Procedures call for consultations with the concerned government, consult with regional and sub-regional organizations and this has not been followed and therefore the information gathered was gathered from one side.”

“There was no communication with the Saudi government or the governments of other coalition members, no consultations with the legitimate government of Yemen and as such, the quality of information has to be suspected in this process.”

Al-Mouallimi told reporters that the change to the de-listing was "final and unconditional."

“This de-listing is final, irreversible and unconditional, and when all [the] facts are in, it will be further reconfirmed,” he added.

“The removal of the Saudi-led coalition was a protection to the credibility of the UN and that keeping the coalition’s name on the list would have killed that credibility,” he added.

(with AFP)

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