UN ‘alarmed’ over renewed Yemen violence after Houthi drone attack
Arab News: The UN envoy to Yemen said he was “alarmed” over the escalation of violence after a rebel drone attack on the country’s largest air base killed six loyalist soldiers. In tweets posted overnight Thursday Martin Griffiths urged all parties to Yemen’s protracted conflict to exercise restraint.
The Shiite Houthi rebels said they carried out the strike which hit a military parade at Al-Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometers north of Yemen’s second city Aden. Six loyalist soldiers were killed and at least 12 people wounded, including top commanders, medics said. Yemen’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Al-Hadrami on Thursday meanwhile said that repeated violations by the Houthi militia were obstructing peace efforts in Yemen.
Al-Hadrami stressed during his meeting with Junaid Munir, the US Deputy Ambassador to Yemen, the need for the international community, the UN and the Yemen peace process sponsors to condemn the infractions and to have a firm position against the Houthis’ non-compliance.
The attack comes as the UN, which brokered several agreements between the rebels and the Saudi-backed government at talks in Sweden last month, is desperately seeking to relaunch negotiations for an end to four years of devastating conflict.
Griffiths tweeted that he was “alarmed by today’s (Thursday) escalation of violence in Yemen.” He urged “all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and refrain from further escalation” and to “create a conducive environment to maintain the positive momentum generated” in Sweden.
The UN was hoping last month’s talks in Sweden would help launch formal peace talks between Yemen’s warring parties.
Thursday’s attack is likely to create a new obstacle for those efforts.
The Houthis said in November they were halting drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia and the Yemeni government forces. However, the Saudi-led Arab coalition has reported several attempted missile attacks iin recent weeks, and accused the Houthis of committing numerous violations of the Hodeidah agreement.