Saudis invite UN for talks on child rights black list

Saudi Ambassador Abdullah al-Mouallimi extended the invitation in a letter sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week. (AFP)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has invited a UN team to visit its headquarters in Riyadh for talks on a UN report that blamed the military alliance over claimed child rights abuses.

Saudi Ambassador Abdullah al-Mouallimi extended the invitation in a letter sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last week, but UN officials say they would rather prefer holding talks in New York.

“We’re studying it,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday. “We obviously remain interested in what information the Saudi-led coalition could provide us.”

The United Nations had briefly blacklisted the coalition but it reversed its stance and removed the coalition from the list.

Last hour: UN removes Saudi-led coalition from child blacklist

In his letter, Mouallimi said “the coalition invites a team of experts to visit the coalition headquarters in Riyadh, with advance notice, and jointly review the cases and number in the report to ensure objectivity and accuracy.”

“The coalition was created precisely to protect civilians, including children, in the aftermath of the military escalation by the Houthis and forces loyal to former president Ali Saleh,” he wrote.

The Saudi ambassador requested “a detailed overview of the methodology and modality that were used to create the number in the report and the sources lied on for said numbers.”

Mouallimi has denied threatening to cut off funding to the United Nations and has said that the decision to take the coalition off the list was “final and irreversible”.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47
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