Coalition: UN report on Yemen lacks evidence

The official spokesman for the coalition Gen. Ahmed Hassan al-Asiri speaks during news conference (Reuters)

The United Nations does not base its reports on solid “evidence,” the spokesman for the Arab coalition told Al Arabiya News Channel, after a report from the international body stated that the alliance had caused the vast majority of civilian deaths in Yemen.

“Now there is a government that has influence of over 90 percent [of the Yemenis], so how come they were not contacted, why blame the coalition,” said Saudi Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, in reference to the internationally recognized government led by Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi. He then said: “what are the numbers and evidence for the UN?”

While expressing his backing to international institution such as the UN, the spokesman said “the international body depended on accounts and it is not communicating with the legitimate government.”

Assiri also asked why “official figures collected by the legitimate government recognized by the international community are ignored.”

“It is impossible that the UN derives its information from Houthi social media and its other media outlets,” he added. “Our goal is to lift the suffering of the Yemeni people.”

The spokesman also criticized UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein for not exerting further efforts to reach for a “permanent political solution.”

In a statement, Hussein said on Friday that “looking at the figures, it would seem that the coalition is responsible for twice as many civilian casualties as all other forces put together.”

He also said the coalition’s airstrikes on a market that killed dozens in Hajja province, targeted the Houthis. Tribal sources on the ground also told news agencies that dozens among those killed were fighters of Houthis.

Saudi announced on Thursday that the coalition was winding down its major combat operations in Yemen. The coalition will now work on “long-term” plans to bring stability to the country, Assiri said earlier.

Since late March last year, the Arab coalition has bombed Iranian-backed Houthi militias and forces allied to deposed leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a bid to put the government of internationally recognized President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi back in power.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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