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UN chief alarmed at continued Saudi airstrikes on Yemen

Yemenis inspect damage following an overnight airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition targeting the capital, Sana’a, on December 24, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voices alarm at continued Saudi Arabian airstrikes against various locations in Yemen, including hugely sensitive and lifeline targets.

Speaking through his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the United Nations chief singled out the Saudi attacks that have been targeting the Yemeni capital Sana’a and the impoverished country’s most important port of entry, namely the western coastal city of al-Hudaydah for criticism.

Guterres also noted with alarm that missile attacks and shelling had continued in several areas in the country, apparently referring to military actions by Saudi-led militants.
All of these actions have resulted in civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure, Dujarric told a daily press briefing.

"The secretary-general reiterates his call on the parties to exercise maximum restraint and prevent any escalation amid heightened tensions in the region, as well as to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law," the spokesman said.

The Saudi kingdom and several of its allies, most notably the United Arab Emirates, have been attacking the Arab world’s already poorest nation since March 2015 in an unsuccessful bid to change its ruling structure in favor of its former Riyadh-aligned officials.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned the entire Yemen into the site of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg has just left Riyadh after concluding a visit to Saudi Arabia. 

During his meetings, Grundberg likewise denounced the recent wave of military escalation, including the heavy airstrikes that have been hitting Sana’a.

The envoy exchanged views on possible options to achieve immediate de-escalation and pave the way for comprehensive political talks, said the spokesman.

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