UN warns of ‘catastrophic situation’ in Yemen
US calls for ‘end to Saudi-led airstrikes’ in Yemen, but keeps selling arms to Riyadh
The US envoy to the UN has called on the Saudi-led coalition to “refrain from taking steps that escalate violence” in Yemen. Her appeal contradicts Washington’s actions, with the Pentagon continuing to supply arms and provide military support to Riyadh.
“First, the United States calls on the parties to recommit immediately to the cessation of hostilities, which means halting all military actions on the ground, in the air, and at sea. That includes an end to shelling and an end to airstrikes,” Ambassador Samantha Power said at a UN Security Council briefing on Monday.
“There is very little good news in Yemen, but one small piece of good news is that we have seen that the parties can reduce the violence in Yemen when they show the will to do so,” she noted.
Power slammed missile attacks by Yemeni Houthi rebels on Saudi Arabia, noting that “every country has a right to defend itself, and the United States remains fully committed to the security of Saudi Arabia.”
“It is also incumbent on the Saudi-led coalition and the forces of the Yemeni government to refrain from taking steps that escalate this violence and to commit to the cessation of hostilities,” she added.
“After 19 months of fighting, it should be clear that there is absolutely no military solution to this conflict. Airstrikes that hit schools, hospitals and other civilian objects have to stop. In many cases these strikes have damaged key infrastructure that is essential to delivering humanitarian aid in Yemen,” Power concluded.
“The US ambassador’s call for an end to indiscriminate airstrikes in Yemen would be more compelling if the US didn’t provide Saudi Arabia with some of the weapons that end up being used in these strikes,” UN director of Human Rights Watch Louis Charbonneau said, the Guardian reported.
The newspaper quoted a senior US administration official as saying that the “US support to the coalition is limited and under review.” The official stressed that the cooperation extended to Saudi Arabia “does not constitute US endorsement of offensive operations in Yemen that harm innocent civilians.”
Coalition airstrikes on the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Saturday killed at least 43 people, many of them inmates in one of the city’s prisons, the Houthis’ TV network al-Masirah said. The airstrikes came hours after warplanes rained bombs on houses of civilians in the western city of Taiz, killing at least 18 people, including children, AP reported.
Last month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes following an airstrike on a funeral in Yemen on October 8, when at least two air-dropped munitions penetrated the roof of a hall containing over 1,000 mourners during the funeral ceremony of Ali al-Rawishan, the father of the Sanaa-based administration’s interior minister, Jalal al-Rawishan. At least 140 people were killed and 610 wounded. A man stands on the rubble of a prison struck by Arab coalition warplanes in al-Zaydiyah district of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, Yemen. © Abduljabbar ZeyadHunger, malnutrition, airstrikes continue to plague Yemen