UK advancing UN resolution to protect 'fragile' Yemen truce

UK advancing UN resolution to protect 'highly fragile' Yemen truce
3 min read
19 December, 2018
Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament that his country would be putting forward a UN Security Council on the conflict in Yemen to be voted on later this week.
The move was announced by Britain's foreign secretary on Wednesday [Getty]
Britain is putting forward a UN Security Council on the conflict in Yemen to be voted on later this week, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament on Wednesday.

"I have instructed our mission in New York to resume working on a draft resolution with the Security Council partners with a view to adopting it later this week.

"We will ask the Security Council to vote on the draft in the next 48 hours," he said, adding that he had "urged all parties to stick to the terms agreed last week”.

Hunt said the ceasefire around the Red Sea port of Hodeida agreed by warring parties during talks in Sweden last week was "highly fragile" but holding for now.

The UN resolution would endorse the terms of the agreement, authorise the UN "to monitor their implementation" and set out "urgent steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis".

The move comes just hours after the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels in Yemen launched an airstrike at the main airport in the rebel-held capital Sanaa on Wednesday.

The military alliance confirmed the move, noting the air raid destroyed a drone in the Yemeni capital which it claims was “in the process of preparing to be launched, thwarting an imminent terrorist attack,” a statement carried by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel said.

The coalition said that the Houthis are using the airport "as a military camp in violation of international humanitarian law”.

It is the first airstrike since peace talks last week in Sweden that resulted in a ceasefire accord for the battleground port city of Hodeida.

Earlier on Wednesday, Yemen’s warring factions have traded accusations over a ceasefire breach in Hodeida, after reports confirmed clashes in the crucial Red Sea port city.

Houthi-run al-Masirah TV blamed the Saudi-led coalition for violating the truce which was mediated by the United Nations as part of crucial peace talks in Sweden.

The Houthi rebels said Saudi-led coalition shelling hit several sites in Hodeida, including some east of the airport, while pro-government sources said the rebels fired mortar bombs and rockets at the May 22 hospital in the eastern suburbs, according to the United Arab Emirates news agency WAM.

Residents in Yemen's main port city reported hearing four blasts on Tuesday - the first day of a UN-brokered ceasefire between the rebels and Saudi-backed government forces.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that "much worse" lay in store for Yemen in 2019 unless the peace deal is implemented.

The Sweden talks marked the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people - though rights groups say the actual figure is five times higher.

Yemen's government and the Houthi rebels have agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates.

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