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Yemen blasts UN silence, inaction over Saudi Arabia's seizure of Yemen-bound oil vessels

In this file picture, a ship unloads a cargo of fuel at the Red Sea port of Hudaydah, Yemen, on April 1, 2018. (Photo by Reuters)

The Yemeni Petroleum Company (YPC) has criticized the United Nations for its silence and inaction to step in and pressure the Saudi-led coalition into releasing ships carrying energy derivatives destined for the impoverished and war-ravaged Arab country.

Speaking at a protest rally outside the UN office in Sana'a on Monday, YPC spokesman, Essam al-Mutawakel, called for an immediate end to the brutal siege against Yemen and seizure of oil vessels, which have left the nation in desperate struggle to survive amid a harsh shortage of fuel.

He stated that the United Nations should take a prompt action to lift the blockade on Sana’a International Airport and Ras Isa oil terminal as soon as possible.

Mutawakel went on to say that two ships carrying fuel, oil and diesel had already anchored in Yemeni ports in the past two days, while a ship carrying gasoline was scheduled to arrive within the next few days.

He highlighted that the arbitrary detention of the vessels off the coast of Yemen for different time periods has increased demurrage fees to some 5 billion Yemeni rials.

Mutawakel said there must be a clear distinction between humanitarian and military issues, emphasizing that the Saudi-led coalition must not take advantage of the sufferings of the Yemeni nation to advance its agenda.

The YPC has repeatedly condemned the Saudi-led coalition’s piracy, stressing that Saudi Arabia has illegally impounded Yemen-bound ships since they all had acquired international permits beforehand and that what Riyadh is doing is in violation of the provisions of the International Convention on Human Rights.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing popular Ansarullah movement. 

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen's infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the country.

The YPC says the continued confiscation of oil tankers contradict earlier remarks by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths before the Security Council on January 16 and October 22, 2019, during which he claimed that ships carrying energy derivatives enter the port of Hudaydah without any obstacles.

The company also notes that the Saudi-led coalition continues to besiege the Yemeni nation through maritime piracy, which aims to hinder the arrival of vessels carrying oil derivatives, natural gas, food, medicine and other basic commodities to Hudaydah, despite the fact that the ships had earlier acquired necessary permits in Djibouti under the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM).

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