Saudi Expresses Strong Reservations over Misleading UN Report on Yemen


New York, Jeddah — Saudi Arabia rejected on Friday information and numbers listed in a UN report that blames the Saudi-led coalition for killing or injuring 683 children in Yemen, describing the report as “inaccurate and misleading.”

Saudi UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said in a statement that his country exercises the maximum degree of care and precaution to avoid civilian harm.

Also on Friday, sources close to the situation in Yemen said there is evidence provided by the Yemeni National Committee for Investigation proving that Houthi militias falsified the death certificates of children who were claimed dead in the Coalition air strikes.

“There are more than 100 falsified death certificates, which prove that the numbers listed in the UN Secretary General’s annual Children and armed conflict report (CAAC) were inaccurate,” the sources said.

In a press conference held on Friday in New York, the Saudi ambassador said: “the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the coalition reaffirm that it is taking important measures to protect civilians during all military operations to end the suffering of the Yemeni people and minimize the humanitarian cost.”

In a report submitted to the UN Security Council on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blacklisted the Saudi-led coalition for its 2016 actions.

The Saudi diplomat said his country had reservations on listing the Arab Coalition in the second section of the UN report concerning the situation of civilians and children in Yemen.

“We reject the inaccurate and misleading information and figures contained in the report that were gathered from biased sources and we express our strong reservation with respect to this information.”

Al Mouallimi blamed the Iran-allied Al Houthi rebels and forces loyal to Yemen’s ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh for putting civilians at risk, including using children as human shields.

International Support to Yemen’s Legitimate Government

Yemen’s Legitimate

Jeddah – New York – United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday that his decision to remove the Arab coalition from the blacklist annexed to a U.N. children and armed conflict report was based on a long careful study. He added that he discussed this issue with high-ranking Saudi officials, including Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Meanwhile, ambassadors of the 18 States sponsoring Yemeni political talks urged the warring parties on Tuesday to refrain from taking unilateral measures that could hamper the peace process. They also called on the Houthi rebels to respect the legitimacy of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

The ambassadors’ position represents a clear support to Yemen’s legitimate government, which had agreed on the roadmap proposed by U.N. Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

In the same context, following a meeting with Hadi in Riyadh earlier this week, the Yemeni government said all options remained open in case the rebels insisted on refusing to sign the international roadmap within the specified deadline.

Vice Prime Minister Abdulaziz Jabari told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that should the Houthi rebels reject the roadmap, “our choices will be open and our dialogue sessions will be limited to the international community, without the Houthis and [ousted President Ali Abdullah] Saleh.”

On Monday, the Yemeni government’s delegation to Kuwait approved a U.N.-proposed deal based on U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216. The government gave a deadline of August 7 for the Houthi rebels to give their approval.

Cheikh Ahmed’s draft plan calls for the rebels to withdraw from three major cities, including the capital Sanaa, hand over weapons and return state institutions they seized in September 2014, according to the government.

The ambassadors of the 18 countries sponsoring peace talks in Kuwait expressed their concern over acts of destabilization performed by Saleh and the Houthis to hamper the peace process.

According to Al-Arabiya news channel, the ambassadors called on the rebels to fully implement UNSCR 2216 and refrain from taking any unilateral measures that could hinder peace negotiations.

Diplomatic sources said both political and military options would be open in wake of the rebels’ continued intransigence. They added that the military option could not be avoided in light of clear violations of the declared truce.

During the meeting between Hadi and the government’s delegation to Kuwait, available political options were discussed. Sources close to government said the delegation gave Hadi an overview of meetings held with ambassadors of several countries sponsoring peace talks during the 90 days of negotiations.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s new permanent representative to the Arab League, Riad Omar Al-Akbary, said the roadmap signed by the Yemeni government would pave the way for resumption of political negotiations based on UNSCR 2216, outcome of the national dialogue and implementation mechanisms of GCC initiative.

Al-Akbary presented his credentials on Tuesday to Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Abul Ghait. In comments, the new permanent representative said his permanent mission would deploy all possible efforts to promote the Arab joint cooperation. He added that his government’s recent approval of the U.N.-proposed roadmap has showed its commitment to the political process and the establishment of peace.