UN ‘very concerned’ over Houthi attacks on Red Sea trade

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations raised the alarm on Wednesday (Jan 10) over increasing attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, blamed by Western countries on Houthi rebels, and the risk of escalation in the region.

Intensifying attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Red Sea have caused shipping companies to bypass the route and instead divert around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, significantly adding to journey times and cost.

“We continue 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 and to the environment and to lives but also the risk of the escalation of the broader conflict in the Middle East,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on a resolution later Wednesday demanding the Houthis stop targeting maritime traffic in the Red Sea.

The resolution “condemns in the strongest terms the at least two dozen Houthi attacks on merchant and commercial vessels since Nov 19, 2023, when the Houthis attacked and seized the Galaxy Leader and its crew”, according to the draft text seen by AFP.

It also “demands that the Houthis immediately cease all such attacks, which impede global commerce and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security”.

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