Saudi-led coalition backs new UN envoy to Yemen

Spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, Col. Turki Al-Maliki

:: The efforts of the outgoing UN envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed to bring about peace had been derailed by Houthi militia intransigence and ignorance of international law, the spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition, Col. Turki Al-Maliki, said on Wednesday.

Al-Maliki paid tribute to the endeavors of the former UN envoy and welcomed his replacement Martin Griffiths during a weekly press conference in Riyadh.

He wished Griffiths success, noting that the coalition welcomed the opening of the office of the UN special envoy in Yemen’s provisional capital of Aden.

Al-Maliki called on UN and non-government organizations dealing with Yemeni affairs to follow suit, in accordance with paragraph II of Article 41 of the Vienna Agreement on Diplomatic Relations, which states that parties should communicate with the government and its foreign ministry wherever it is based.

He reiterated the coalition’s position of coercing coup militias in Sanaa to obey international community resolutions. The final report submitted by the UN experts team affiliated to the sanctions committee in Yemen, issued on Wednesday, was welcomed by the coalition, however it had reservations about some of its paragraphs, which contained baseless logic and false assumptions, he said.

Al-Maliki welcomed concrete evidence confirming the involvement of the Iranian regime in supporting terrorist organizations — citing ballistic missiles, drone planes, speed boats, and mines — which contributed to aggravating the crisis in Yemen and spreading chaos in the region.

The coalition has demanded the names of figures detected by the report to be added to the list of those to be sanctioned, he said.

Al-Maliki also highlighted the importance of providing protection for Yemeni historical antiquities, citing evidence that some people had illegally sold items from the National Museum of Yemen in Sanaa.

He described accusations that the coalition prevented the movement of foreign media representatives in Yemeni as inaccurate. The Yemeni government had declared that it would not be responsible for the safety of journalists abducted by militias in areas controlled by the Houthis. He said some western journalists had been kidnapped and ransoms demanded.

Al-Maliki said the coalition would not prevent media representatives from going where they liked inside Yemen, but that it would not be held accountable for any harm caused by terrorist and outlawed organizations inside Yemen and rejected paying ransoms for their release.

He stressed that the coalition would facilitate the access of journalists to Yemen, adding that there was no objection to press reports or the presence of media on the ground.

Al-Maliki also said that there were 22 ports currently operating at full capacity for the entry of humanitarian aid and relief and basic materials to Yemen.

The Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations (YCHO) had helped 959,879 people, and he said that the number of beneficiaries would exceed a million within two days.

Al-Maliki highlighted the flow of humanitarian aid within the comprehensive humanitarian operations in Yemen recently, including 69 convoys heading to Alwadia port from where assistance was distributed in Yemen.

Al-Maliki said that there were six initiatives for the treatment of the injured as well as the rehabilitation of children. Since the start of military operations there had been 50 clearances of maritime vessels carrying relief and medical aid as well as fuel.

He added that air clearance reached 87 for flights heading to four Yemeni airports, where the number of passengers reached about 8,000 to and from Yemen — and land ports had been granted 11 clearances.

Al-Maliki said that Iranian-backed Houthi militias continued to recruit children in violation of international and humanitarian law.

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