UN Security Council censures Yemen’s Houthis as Marib battle intensifies

Iran-backed rebels criticised by top global body for attacks on Saudi Arabia and urged to return to talks

The council condemned the Houthis' cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia, including drone strikes this month. Photo: EPA
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The UN Security Council on Wednesday censured Yemen’s Houthi militia for attacks on neighbouring Saudi Arabia and urged the Iran-backed rebels and others to return to the negotiating table to try to end the country’s devastating civil war.

The council “condemned the Houthi cross-border attacks against” Saudi Arabia, including drone strikes this month on King Abdullah Airport in Jizan, which injured 10, and the civilian international airport in Abha, both in the south of the kingdom.

The 15-nation body also criticised the Iran-backed rebel group’s months-long offensive on Marib, an oil-rich region and the internationally recognised Yemeni government’s last stronghold in the country's north.

“[The council] stressed the need for de-escalation by all, including an immediate end to the Houthi escalation in Marib,” it said.

They condemned the recruitment and use of children, and sexual violence.

The council, which includes the US, Russia, China and others, also condemned attacks on civilian and commercial ships off Yemen’s coast in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, and expressed “unwavering support” for the UN’s new peace envoy, Hans Grundberg.

Mr Grundberg on Monday concluded a visit to Oman, where he met the country's officials, Houthi representatives and members of the international community about cutting a deal to end Yemen’s seven-year conflict.

Tens of thousands of people have died and millions have been displaced in what the UN calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The UN’s agency for children said on Tuesday that more than 10,000 children had been killed or maimed in the conflict.

The UN’s International Organisation for Migration on Wednesday said it was boosting aid deliveries to refugees in makeshift camps near Taez and Hodeidah on Yemen’s west coast — two front lines.

“IOM is ramping up its response to thousands of people in need of urgent services, especially health care, water and sanitation and shelter,” said Christa Rottensteiner, the agency's top official in Yemen.

“We urge donors and other partners to commit more significant investments to ease the levels of desperation facing too many people on the west coast.”

A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition on Wednesday said that air strikes had killed more than 82 Houthi fighters in Marib governorate.

Updated: October 22, 2021, 7:46 AM