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UN Security Council demands Houthis halt Red Sea attacks


 , Updated 08:32, 11-Jan-2024

The UN Security Council on Wednesday demanded Yemen's Houthis immediately end attacks on ships in the Red Sea and implicitly endorsed a U.S.-led task force that has been defending vessels while cautioning against escalating tensions.

Resolution 2722 condemns "in the strongest terms" the Houthi attacks on Red Sea vessels since November 19, 2023, when they attacked and seized the Galaxy Leader and its crew. It demands the Houthi militia immediately cease all such attacks, which impede global commerce and undermine navigational rights and freedoms as well as regional peace and security, and immediately release the Galaxy Leader and its crew.

The resolution affirms that the exercise of navigational rights and freedoms by merchant and commercial vessels, in accordance with international law, must be respected, and takes note of the right of UN member states to defend their vessels from attacks in accordance with the international law.

The resolution emphasizes the need to address the root causes, including the conflicts contributing to regional tensions and the disruption of maritime security in order to ensure a prompt, efficient and effective response.

It calls for caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and the broader region, and encourages enhanced diplomatic efforts by all parties to that end, including continued support for dialogue and Yemen's peace process under the UN auspices.

Three Russian amendments to the draft, including the mentioning of the conflict in Gaza as a contributor to regional tensions, failed to be adopted by the Security Council.

Resolution 2722 was adopted with 11 votes in favor, none against, and four abstentions, namely by Algeria, China, Mozambique and Russia.  

The Houthi spokesperson in Yemen, Mohammed Abdul Salam said on Thursday the UN resolution on navigation on the Red Sea is a "political game."

The spokesperson said the U.S. is the one violating international law.

(With input from agencies)

(Cover: People watch as a ship transits the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea in Ismailia, Egypt, January 10, 2024. /CFP)

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