UN Security Council calls for immediate halt to Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels

UN Security Council calls for immediate halt to Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels
Houthi fighters take positions on the deck of the Galaxy Leader cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 19 March 2024
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UN Security Council calls for immediate halt to Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels

UN Security Council calls for immediate halt to Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels
  • Council members reiterated the need for full compliance with all UN resolutions designed to end the violence in Yemen and preserve the peace process
  • The Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting international shipping since November and say their assaults will continue until Israel ends its war on Gaza

NEW YORK CITY: The UN Security Council on Monday condemned “in the strongest terms” Houthi strikes against international maritime traffic in the Red Sea and demanded that all such attacks “cease immediately.”

The Iran-backed Houthis have been targeting vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November and say their assaults will continue until Israel ends its war on Gaza.

The attacks highlighted by the council included one on March 6 on the Barbados-flagged merchant carrier True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden, which left two Filipino nationals and a Vietnamese citizen dead and several crew members injured. It was the first fatal strike against shipping by the Houthis.

Another was an anti-ballistic missile attack on Feb. 18 that targeted the Belize-flagged, UK-owned cargo ship Rubymar and caused it to sink. The vessel was carrying 21,000 tonnes of fertilizer, raising fears of environmental damage to the Red Sea, including its coral reefs and marine life.

Council members reiterated the importance of the “full implementation of Resolution 2216” and subsequent resolutions that call for an end to the violence in Yemen and to all unilateral actions that threaten the political process in the country.

They emphasized the need for “practical cooperation, including with the government of Yemen, to prevent the Houthis from acquiring the arms and related materiel necessary to carry out further attacks,” and reiterated that all member states must adhere to “their obligations in regards to the targeted arms embargo.”

The council also demanded the immediate release of the Japanese-operated cargo ship Galaxy Leader and the 25 members of its crew, who have been unlawfully detained by the Houthis for more than 100 days.

Members emphasized the importance of Red Sea maritime routes to humanitarian operations in Yemen and beyond, and to the local fishing industry and the Yemeni people whose livelihoods it supports. They reaffirmed that “the exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by merchant and commercial vessels of all states transiting the Red Sea and Baab Al-Mandab, in accordance with international law, must be respected.”

With that in mind, council members warned of the adverse effects of a “March 4 Houthi decision purporting to require ships obtain a permit from their ‘Maritime Affairs Authority’ before entering Yemeni waters, on the freedom of commercial navigation and humanitarian operations, including into Yemen.”

Last week, UN officials expressed concern that parties involved in the conflict in Yemen might engage in “risky military adventurism” that could push the country into a new cycle of war.

“Although we have tried to shield the peace process from regional developments since the war in Gaza, the reality is (that) what happens regionally impacts Yemen, and what happens in Yemen can impact the region,” Hans Grundberg, the UN’s special envoy for Yemen said during a meeting of the Security Council to discuss the latest developments in the country and the Red Sea. “The current trajectory gives cause for serious concern.”

Council members stressed the importance of efforts to enhance regional and international cooperation to counter threats to peace and security in the region, and called for a deescalation of hostilities in the Red Sea to help preserve the peace process in Yemen.

They commended the internationally recognized government of Yemen on its efforts “to preserve the maritime environment,” and called on all UN member states, organizations and agencies to support that work.

The council also emphasized the need to “prevent further regional spillover of the conflict, and its impact on the security and the stability of the region and beyond,” and reiterated “the necessity to address the root causes contributing to regional tensions and to the disruption of maritime security in order to ensure a prompt, efficient and effective response.”


US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes

US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes
Updated 17 sec ago
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US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes

US envoy says diplomacy ‘urgent’ to stop Israel-Lebanon border clashes
  • US envoy Amos Hochstein: ‘The conflict... between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough’
BEIRUT: US envoy Amos Hochstein Tuesday called for the “urgent” de-escalation in cross-border exchanges of fire between Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israeli forces raging since the start of the Gaza war.
“The conflict... between Israel and Hezbollah has gone on for long enough,” the presidential envoy said on a visit to Beirut. “It’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically — that is both achievable and it is urgent.”

UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan
Updated 28 min 59 sec ago
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UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan

UAE allocates $70 million in humanitarian aid for Sudan
  • Since the onset of the crisis, the UAE has launched an air bridge with Sudan and Chad

DUBAI: The UAE has said 70 percent of the $100 million pledge it announced for UN agencies last April will go towards supporting humanitarian aid efforts in Sudan, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the funds would be directed to key UN partners, including the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the World Food Programme, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Health Organization. The money will provide food and health support, protect women and children, and offer livelihoods and shelter in emergencies.
Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem bint Ibrahim Al-Hashemi emphasized the UAE’s commitment to humanitarian support for the Sudanese people. She highlighted ongoing efforts to provide aid in cooperation with the WFP, including operations in El-Fasher and other areas in Sudan.
Since the onset of the crisis, the UAE has launched an air bridge with Sudan and Chad, delivering 9,500 tons of food and medical supplies through 148 relief flights and a ship carrying some 1,000 tons of urgent supplies. Additionally, the UAE has supported Sudanese refugee camps in Chad and South Sudan by providing food.


Civil Defense extinguishes major fire in northern Jordan

Civil Defense extinguishes major fire in northern Jordan
Updated 53 min 22 sec ago
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Civil Defense extinguishes major fire in northern Jordan

Civil Defense extinguishes major fire in northern Jordan
  • The fire affected over 320,000 square meters of trees and dry grass

DUBAI:  Civil Defense teams on Monday extinguished a fire that spread from the Zamal area in the Koura District to the Anaba area in the Northern Mazar District.

Koura District Superintendent Bassem Al-Khalayleh informed the Jordan News Agency that the fire affected over 320 dunams (320,000 square meters) of trees and dry grass. He praised the quick response of the Civil Defense, which contained and extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading to neighboring areas.

Al-Khalayleh urged citizens to clean the areas surrounding their homes, remove waste and dead vegetation that pose safety risks, ensure the presence and readiness of fire extinguishers, and educate individuals about fire hazards. He emphasized the dangers of throwing cigarette butts in forests, leaving flammable waste unattended, lighting fires in grassy areas, and using fireworks near forests or residential areas.

Jordan is currently experiencing a severe heatwave, with temperatures soaring to record highs of 45 degrees Celsius in several regions.

The Jordan Meteorological Department reported that the heatwave is expected to persist over the coming days, particularly impacting the desert areas, Jordan Valley, Dead Sea, and Aqaba. Residents are advised to stay indoors during peak sunlight hours, stay hydrated, and avoid strenuous outdoor activities.


Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants

Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants
Updated 18 June 2024
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Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants

Tunisian security units foil 59 sea border crossing attempts, rescue 1,806 migrants
  • At least 18 Tunisians were rescued on June 15 and 16 with the remainder being from sub-Saharan countries

DUBAI: Security units in Tunisia thwarted 59 attempts to illegally cross its sea borders and rescued 1,806 individuals, state news agency Tunis Afrique Press reported on Monday.

At least 18 Tunisians were rescued on June 15 and 16 with the remainder being from sub-Saharan countries, the Directorate General of the National Guard announced in a statement.

Two bodies were also recovered, and 24 wanted individuals, including smugglers and middlemen, were detained. In addition, the authorities seized boats and outboard motors used in illegal migration operations.


Yemeni minister condemns Houthi attack on Taiz officials

Yemeni minister condemns Houthi attack on Taiz officials
Updated 18 June 2024
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Yemeni minister condemns Houthi attack on Taiz officials

Yemeni minister condemns Houthi attack on Taiz officials
  • The minister called on the international community, the UN, and its special envoy to Yemen to condemn this attack.

DUBAI: Yemeni Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism Muammar Al-Eryani strongly condemned the Houthi militia on Monday for targeting government officials in Taiz, state news agency SABA reported. 

The attack targeted Maj. Gen. Abdul Karim Al-Sabri, undersecretary of Taiz Governorate for defense and security affairs; Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Al-Majidi, acting commander of the Taiz Axis; Brig. Gen. Mohammed Al-Mahfadi, commander of Brigade 22 Mika; Samir Yahya Abdul-Ilah, director-general of the Cairo Directorate; and several other civilian, security, and military leaders. They were on a visit to National Army officers stationed at the old airport camp northwest of Taiz.

Al-Eryani said that the attack occurred less than 500 meters from the recently reopened Al-Kamp-Republican Palace road, after a decade-long siege imposed by the Houthi militia on the governorate.

The attack highlights the Houthi militia’s lack of commitment to peace and their intent to undermine any efforts to alleviate the suffering of citizens, the minister said. 

Al-Eryani called on the international community, the UN, and its special envoy to Yemen to condemn this attack. He urged for the militia to be classified as a terrorist organization, for its financial, political, and media resources to be cut off, and for measures to be taken to support the government in establishing control and achieving security throughout Yemeni territory.