Author: ARAB NEWSMon, 2018-03-26 11:50
RIYADH: World leaders on Monday condemned the Houthi missile attack on Saudi Arabia, targeting various civilian areas.
The seven ballistic missiles were fired by Houthi militia in Yemen on Sunday night, the Arab Coalition said.
Three of the missiles were fired toward Riyadh, two toward Jazan, and one each toward Khamis Mushayt and Najran which Saudi air defenses intercepted.
In response the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Pakistan and the Arab League condemned the attack which killed one Egyptian civilian worker and injured two others.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday strongly condemned the missile attacks and said military escalation was not the solution to ending the three-year war.
Guterres “strongly condemns the launch late yesterday of a series of missiles claimed by the Houthis toward cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, as he does consistently with all attacks against civilians,” said a UN statement.
He called for “restraint amid mounting tensions and stresses that military escalation is not the solution.”
The UN chief is due to meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at UN headquarters on Tuesday to discuss Yemen.
Kuwait's Permanent Representitive to the UN, Mansour Al-Otaibi, callled on the UN Security Council to intervene to stop the Houthi missile attacks on the Kingdom. He added Houthi militias undermine all opportunities for peace in Yemen and their attacks are a dangerous escalation.
The United States joined in strongly condemning the dangerous Houthi missile attacks.
"We support our Saudi partners' right to defend their borders against these threats. We continue to call on all parties, including the Houthis, to return to political negotiations and move toward ending the war in Yemen," said spokesperson for the US Department of State Heather Nauert.
Algeria also strongly condemned on Monday the firing of ballistic missiles toward the Kingdom and affirmed its solidarity and full support to King Salman, the Saudi government and its people in the face of any attempt to target its security and stability.
Moreover, Algeria called for the immediate cessation of hostilities that will deepen the crisis and increase the escalating tension in the region.
Russia and Sudan also strongly condemened the Houthi attack, while Amnesty International said the overnight attacks on Riyadh could constitute a potential war crime.
“Launching indiscriminate attacks is prohibited by international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime,” said Amnestys Samah Hadid.
“A high death toll may have been averted, possibly due to the missiles being intercepted, but that doesnt let the Houthi armed group off the hook for this reckless and unlawful act,” Hadid said in a statement.
“These missiles cannot be precisely targeted at such distances, so their use in this manner unlawfully endangers civilians.”
Amnesty did not say it had independently documented evidence of the attacks.
“Italy strongly condemns the firing of ballistic missiles by the Houthi rebels in Yemen toward Saudi Arabia, including the capital, Riyadh, and the targeting of civilian areas, killing one civilian and injuring others,” stated Angelino Alfano, Italys Minister of Foreign Affairs.
He also pledged his countrys full solidarity with Saudi Arabia and added: “The Houthi rebels provocative behavior undermines security and stability in the region and contributes to the deterioration of the political and military situation in Yemen.”
“Ending the conflict must be the main priority,” he continued, “This is also essential for addressing the civilians urgent humanitarian needs.”
He concluded that “Italy is ready to offer its assistance to the UN new special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffith, in hope that he will push forward the negotiations aimed at ending this conflict.”
The internationally recognised government of Yemen, who has been fighting the militias since 2015, also condemned the Houthi attack.
Meanwhile, the United States confirmed their support to Saudi Arabia in defending the Kingdoms borders.
Witnesses reported loud explosions and bright flashes in the sky in Riyadh, apparently caused by missiles being shot down.
Since November, Yemens Iran-aligned Houthi militia have fired multiple missiles into Saudi Arabia, all of which Saudi forces had successfully intercepted without causing any damages to lives or properties.
UK to Iran: Stop arming Houthis
Britain on Sunday called on Iran to “stop sending weapons” to the Houthi militias and use its influence instead to end the conflict, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Sunday.
In a joint statement on the occasion of the three-year anniversary of the start of the Saudi-led Arab military intervention against the Houthi militias in Yemen, Britains Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said that “if Iran is sincere in its commitment to support a political solution in Yemen, it must stop sending weapons that prolong the conflict, fuel regional tensions and pose a threat to international peace and security.”
“We are wondering why Iran is spending a lot of money in a country with which it has no real historical ties or interests, rather than using its influence to end the conflict for the benefit of the Yemeni people,” the ministers said in their statement.
In September 2014, the Houthis expelled pro-government forces from Sanaa and took control of the capital and several parts of the country.
“We support the efforts of the Saudi-led coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen, as approved by the UN Security Council,” the British ministers said in a statement.
A report by UN experts concluded that Tehran was involved in arming the Houthis.
The United Nations is making a fresh push for talks after Iran sent signals that it would be willing to help turn up the pressure on the Houthis to take part in negotiations, UN diplomats said.
New UN envoy Martin Griffiths was in the rebel-held capital Sanaa this week for talks on kick-starting the political process, following a first round of meetings in Riyadh.
About 10,000 Yemenis have been killed and 53,000 wounded since the coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015.
On Sunday, the Houthis fired three missiles at Riyadh and four others at the southern cities of Khamis Mushait, Jizan and Najran.
The Saudi-led coalition said the attacks all targeted populated areas.
The United Nations has said Yemen is facing the worlds worst humanitarian crisis, with 22.2 million people in need of aid, a growing risk of famine and a severe outbreak of cholera.
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