UN Security Council demands immediate end to Huthi Red Sea attacks

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The United Nations Security Council demanded on Wednesday an “immediate” end to attacks by Yemen’s Huthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea.

The resolution passed “demands that the Huthis immediately cease all such attacks, which impede global commerce and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security.”

It was adopted after Russia, as well as China, Mozambique and Algeria, abstained.

The intensifying attacks have caused shipping companies to bypass the route and instead divert around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, significantly adding to journey times and cost.

The U.N. earlier said it continued “to be very concerned about the situation in the Red Sea, not only because of the situation itself, and the risks that it causes to global trade.”

The resolution “condemns in the strongest terms the at least two dozen Huthi attacks on merchant and commercial vessels since November 19, 2023, when the Huthis attacked and seized the Galaxy Leader and its crew,” according to the text.

Since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel, and Israel’s war in Gaza in response, the Huthis — who control swathes of Yemen — have stepped up their attacks on international maritime traffic in the Red Sea.

They claim to be acting in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza.

 ‘Root causes’ 

Israel’s main ally, the United States, formed an international coalition in December to protect maritime traffic from Huthi attacks, in the strategically important zone through which at least 12 percent of world trade passes.

Russia, which sought to introduce three amendments to the resolution that were all voted down, said afterwards Moscow had concerns about Washington’s coalition.

“We cannot be not concerned by the current situation in the Red Sea… However, we are concerned that the United States and their allies prefer, as on many occasions in the past, to choose a path of unilateral solution by force,” said Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.

The resolution, noting the “large-scale” violations of the arms embargo against the Huthis, also reiterates the need for all member states to “adhere to their obligations.”

It “condemns the provision of arms” to the Huthis, which are close to Iran.

According to a November report by experts mandated by the Security Council to monitor the arms embargo, the Huthis are considerably strengthening their military capabilities on land and at sea.

“Iran has long encouraged the Huthi’s destabilizing actions in the region through both financial and materiel support that violates the U.N. arms embargo,” said Washington’s U.N. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

“We know that Iran has been deeply involved in planning operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea.”

The resolution, proposed by the United States and Japan, calls for “the root causes” of the situation to be addressed, “including the conflicts contributing to regional tensions.”

One defeated Russian amendment to the draft resolution would have added “the conflict in the Gaza Strip” to the list of factors contributing to tensions.

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