Britain requests UN Security Council meeting on Yemen port offensive

File photo showing the UN Security Council meets on settlement of conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2018
0

Britain requests UN Security Council meeting on Yemen port offensive

  • The council is expected to meet Thursday, which would be the second time this week that the top UN body has held talks on the crisis in Yemen.
  • The UN envoy Martin Griffiths has been pressing the Houthis to turn over the port to a UN-supervised committee.

UNITED NATIONS: Britain on Wednesday requested an urgent UN Security Council meeting after Yemen government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on the key port of Hodeida, diplomats said.
The United Nations has raised alarm over the military operation, which could cripple deliveries of commercial goods and humanitarian aid to millions in Yemen who are on the brink of famine.
The council is expected to meet Thursday, which would be the second time this week that the top UN body has held talks on the crisis in Yemen.
The request came after UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said he was continuing to hold negotiations on keeping Hodeida open.
The Red Sea port, controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, serves as the entry point for 70 percent of the impoverished country’s imports, but the coalition maintains that the rebels use it to smuggle weapons.
The United Nations has warned that up to 250,000 people were at risk if the coalition moves ahead with an all-out offensive to take Hodeida.

The council on Monday said it backed Griffiths’ diplomatic efforts but did not specifically call on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, whose troops are backing Yemeni forces, to refrain from attacking Hodeida.
The UN envoy has been pressing the Houthis to turn over the port to a UN-supervised committee that would allow shipments of vital supplies to continue to flow through Hodeida.
More than 22 million people in Yemen are in need of aid including 8.4 million who are at risk of starvation, according to the United Nations which considers Yemen to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to push back the Houthis and restore the internationally recognized government to power.
The conflict has left nearly 10,000 people dead, tens of thousands wounded in what was already the Arab world’s poorest country.
 

 

 

 


Zimbabwe rally blast injured 41: minister

Updated 33 min 48 sec ago
0

Zimbabwe rally blast injured 41: minister

  • A blast that rocked a rally in which Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped unscathed injured at least 41 people, including his two deputies
  • Footage circulating on social media showed an explosion and plumes of smoke around the president as he descended stairs from the podium at the city’s White City stadium

BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe: A blast that rocked a rally in which Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped unscathed injured at least 41 people, including his two deputies, the health minister told a state Sunday paper.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa, said wounded rallygoers had been treated at three main hospitals across the city and “a total of 41... have so far approached our health institutions complaining of injuries.”
Footage circulating on social media showed an explosion and plumes of smoke around the president as he descended stairs from the podium at the city’s White City stadium.
Mnangagwa said he was the target of the attack, which also injured Vice Presidents Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga.
The device “exploded a few inches away from me — but it is not my time,” the president told state broadcaster on Saturday night, blaming the attack on his “mortal enemies.”
“These are my mortal enemies and the attempts have been so many.
“It’s not the first attempt (on) my life. I’m used to it. Six times my office has been broken into; cyanide was put in my offices so many times. I will continue.”
The health minister said some of those wounded had lost limbs and some would require “serious surgery,” suggesting the number of injured could rise as the government was still consolidating numbers from the various hospitals.
“We have no fatalities so far,” said Parirenyatwa.
Mnangagwa, who was quickly rushed away from the scene of the explosion, later visited the injured in hospital.
While Bulawayo has long been a bastion of opposition to the ZANU-PF and it was Mnangagwa’s first rally in the city, commentators suggest the attack could have been instigated by internal ructions within the ruling party.
The polls in five weeks will be the first since Zimbabwe’s veteran leader Robert Mugabe resigned following a brief military takeover in November last year after 37 years in power.
The intervention by the army was led by Chiwenga who was then head of the armed forces.
The vote will be a key test for Mnangagwa, 75, who succeeded the 94-year-old autocrat and remains untested at the ballot box.
He has pledged to hold free and fair elections as he seeks to mend international relations and have sanctions against Zimbabwe dropped.
Previous elections in Zimbabwe have been marred by electoral fraud, intimidation and violence, including the killing of scores of opposition supporters in 2008.