The United Arab Emirates on Thursday 13 January denounced a “dangerous climbingin the Red Sea and called on the UN to take a firm stand after Houthi rebels in Yemen seized an Emirati-flagged vessel. On January 3, the rebels, who control much of Yemeni territory, captured the boat.rwabeeoff the coast of Hodeida, in the west of this war-torn country, and assured that it was transporting military equipment.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates denounced an act of “piracyagainst a civilian ship, these two Gulf states have been militarily intervening in Yemen since 2015 to support pro-government forces against the Houthis, insurgents based near Iran. “This is a dangerous escalation for maritime safety in the Red Seasaid Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the Emirates to the United Nations.
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The Emirates are demanding a “firm position” from the UN.
The Emirati diplomat demanded “take a fixed positionof the UN Security Council, to which she spoke and of which the country is currently a non-permanent member. This is the first official reaction from Abu Dhabi, ten days after the seizure of the Rwabee, which sparked the ire of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, which includes the Emirates.
The coalition has threatened to attack the ports of Hodeida, from where the rebels say they are organizing military or piracy activities with the help of Iran, Saudi Arabia’s major regional rival. The ports of Hodeida are subject to a demilitarization agreement as this southern region is crucial for imports and access of international aid in a country facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. The Red Sea is also an important sea route for international trade, particularly for transporting oil from several Gulf countries.
The seizure of the Emirati ship comes amid a rise in violence in Yemen, with the coalition stepping up its crackdowns on Houthi rebels and pro-government forces leading a ground offensive to retake insurgent-held areas. The UN repeats the “de-escalationtrying in vain to end a war that has claimed the lives of 377,000 people, the vast majority victims of the indirect effects of fighting such as hunger, disease and lack of drinking water.