UN council members decry Abu Dhabi attack as crisis talks loom

UAE envoy Lana Nusseibeh says more than 90 countries back the Emirates by condemning the Houthi strikes

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE's envoy to the UN, denounced the strikes that killed three people, injured six and caused fires at a fuel depot and an international airport in Abu Dhabi. UN file photo.

The UAE envoy to the UN Lana Nusseibeh on Wednesday told the Security Council that more than 90 countries have joined the Emirates in condemning this week's attack on Abu Dhabi, as the chamber readied for talks on what she called a “criminal escalation” by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

Ms Nusseibeh denounced the strikes that killed three people, injured six and caused fires at a fuel depot and an international airport in the UAE capital.

Council members are set to discuss the strikes in emergency talks as soon as Friday, diplomats said. Ms Nusseibeh along with envoys from Israel, Britain, India, the US and elsewhere mentioned the strikes briefly at separate discussions in the chamber on Wednesday.

The UAE envoy condemned the “attacks against civilians and civilian facilities in the UAE” by the “terrorist Houthi militias” as well as other “treacherous attempts to spread chaos and terrorism in the region”.

“My country reiterates its strong condemnation and denouncement of this criminal escalation and expresses its condolences to the families of the three victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery,” she said.

“We also thank those who have supported us, including more than 90 countries that have joined us in condemning these terrorist attacks.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, offered her “condolences to the UAE” and said Washington “condemns in no unqualified terms Monday's terrorist attack in Abu Dhabi".

India’s UN envoy, TS Tirumurti, blasted the “unacceptable” attack in which two Indian citizens lost their lives. He urged the 15-nation body to “send a clear signal” against such a “blatant violation of international law”.

Also addressing the council, Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan condemned the strikes and called for tough international action against Iran, which has been accused of arming the Houthi rebels.

He offered his “deepest condolences” over the “abhorrent attack by the Iranian-sponsored Houthi terror group”.

“There is no doubt that the threat caused by the Iranian regime demands the urgent attention of the whole world, none more so than here in the Security Council,” Mr Erdan said in New York.

It remains unclear, however, what action the council will take. Last week, members agreed on a separate statement condemning the Houthi seizure of a UAE-flagged cargo vessel on January 2 — but Yemen’s rebel group frequently flouts UN resolutions.

A Houthi spokesman did not immediately respond to The National's request for comment.

The UAE joined the UN’s top body for a two-year term beginning on January 1, meaning it can take part in meetings, vote on resolutions and help draft official statements.

Yemen has been mired in violence since the Houthis ousted the internationally recognised government from the capital Sanaa in late 2014. A Saudi-led military coalition intervened the following year to restore the government.

Fighting has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and left millions suffering from food and medical shortages.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 3:07 AM