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UN: Saudi Arabia expected to cut Yemen child deaths

Saudi Arabia's intervened in Yemen after a rebel takeover in the country [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 14 July, 2016

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The Saudi-led coalition should take concrete steps to cut child deaths from its bombing campaign of Yemen, or be it will be added to a UN blacklist, the organisation warned.

The United Nations expects Saudi-led coalition bombing Yemen is expected to take concrete measures to address international concern about the deaths of children in the war.

The international body issued a "list of shame" of child right violators in June, naming Saudi Arabia in its list due to the kingdom's intensive bombing campaign of Yemen, which has resulted in hundreds of children being killed.

Riyadh reacted angrily and demanded to be taken off, denying the claims.

The UN said that Saudi Arabia had responded by threatening to cut off funding to UN aid programmes and agreed to remove the coalition from the list pending a Security Council review on 2 August.

"We hope that in advance of the debate on 2 August, the coalition will be able to provide us with some information on the concrete actions they have taken," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Saudi Foreign Minister Abel al-Jubeir met with Ban at UN headquarters on Thursday to discuss the situation in Yemen just as peace talks were scheduled to resume in Kuwait on Friday.

Jubeir said the coalition was ready to take "the necessary concrete measures to end and prevent violations against children", Dujarric said.

He told reporters that the coalition was waging its air campaign "with great care in order to avoid damages to civilians and in particular children".

"We have explained this to the United Nations and our dialogue is ongoing," he added.

He said the row could be resolved if Riyadh if there is "big movement" in the Yemen peace talks, procedures to lessen civilian casualties, and remedial measures.

The United Nations had blacklisted the coalition after concluding in a report that it was responsible for 60 percent of the 785 children's deaths in Yemen last year.

The coalition launched an air campaign in support of Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in March 2015 after he and his government fled the capital Sanaa after a takeover by Houthi rebel fighters.

The war has killed some 6,400 people and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country, according to the United Nations.

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