London-Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Abdallah Al-Mouallimi confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper the removal of the coalition that Riyadh leads in Yemen off a list made by the representative of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on child rights.
Al-Mouallimi denied to Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone conversation that Saudi Arabia had pressured the Secretariat and the U.N. chief to remove the Arab coalition’s name from the list.
Asked about Western media reports that Saudi Arabia had threatened the U.N. that it would stop funding some of its agencies, the ambassador replied: “We don’t use such means and we don’t accept that anyone uses them against us.”
“We try to clarify facts and this is what happened. We clarified the facts to the Secretariat about the recruitment of children by Yemen’s insurgents,” he said.
“We clarified matters, after which the name of the Arab Coalition was dropped from the blacklist,” the ambassador told the newspaper, insisting that its name was permanently and not temporarily dropped as claimed by certain sides.
Saudi Arabia and the members of the Arab coalition for Defense of Legitimacy in Yemen had protested to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for blacklisting the coalition. Ban later decided to drop its name from the list.
According to information received by Asharq Al-Awsat, the Arab coalition will provide the U.N. chief with details in numbers this month so that he could add them to his report ahead of its discussion by the Security Council.
A source at the U.N. Secretariat said on Wednesday that Ban reacted positively to the coalition’s demand to take its name off the blacklist.
Foreign Policy magazine had said in a report that Saudi Arabia threatened the U.N. to cut humanitarian assistance worth millions of dollars and to stop its cooperation with the U.N.’s bureau of counterterrorism.
But the Saudi Ambassador said: “This is not true. All what we did was to explain facts.”
“We are not known to using such language,” he added.