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Riyadh Warns Against Houthi-Posed Threat on Southern Red Sea Waterways | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Commander of the Saudi Royal Navy Abdullah bin Sultan al-Sultan, Asharq Al-Awsat

Riyadh- The commander of the Saudi Royal Navy stressed on Thursday the importance of maritime security in the southern Red Sea, Bab el-Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden.

Speaking to the international community, the Vice Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan al-Sultan cited the threat posed against maritime navigation by Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.

Vice Admiral Sultan commended the role and efforts exerted by the Arab Coalition countries led by the Kingdom to maintain the security of these important water ways and counter the Houthi threat to international maritime traffic, said the Saudi state-owned news agency SPA.

His statements came in a speech he delivered on behalf of the Saudi Royal Navy at the International Maritime Security Symposium (IMSS 2017), hosted by the Indonesian Navy in Bali.

Naval safety in the Red Sea is a major concern for the coalition forces backing the constitutionally-elected government headed by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, at a time when the Houthi militias have repeatedly threatened it.

The first militia-staged targeting was against the Yemeni Mokha port, with a bomb-laden vessel. The second attack was a launched ballistic missile fired from the town of Hajjah targeting vessels in international waters.

The southern Red Sea, not far from the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, is a highly important naval route through which two thirds of the world’s oil tankers take.

Military expert Ibrahim al-Mari also stressed the need for the international community to be aware of the grave consequences entailed by coupists threatening the Red Sea’s maritime security.

Commenting on the Saudi warning issued, Mari said that “the Royal Saudi Navy commander was right in that call. We know that Saudi Arabia is exerting tremendous efforts on behalf of the international community, but it cannot continue to do so without further backing and active participation of the international community. “

On the strategic danger posed by Houthi militia’s detrimental access to Red Sea waters, the military expert highlighted the risk in militiamen having the ability to transport and plant mines deep into sea territory, therefore posing a major threat to ships and tankers.

“This threat still exists until this very hour,” he said.

Expressing a personal viewpoint, Mari considered it unacceptable that the process of protecting international waterways be a task limited to bordering states, on the grounds of it being costly.

“This issue must be reconsidered and everyone must take full responsibility for ensuring the safety of international waterways.”