UN Security Council urges Yemeni oil tankers for access
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United Nations (United States) (AFP)
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday called on the Houthi rebels to allow inspectors to visit a long-abandoned tanker off Yemen.
The 15-member council held a special meeting on FSO Safer at Britain’s request after rebels said an agreement allowing the UN mission was “at an impasse.”
The 45-year-old FSO Safer tanker has 1.1 million barrels of crude on board and has been abandoned near the western port of Hodeidah since 2015.
The UN says it threatens a catastrophic oil spill that would destroy ecosystems in the Red Sea, shut down the fishing industry and shut Yemen’s vital port of Hodeidah for six months.
Members urged the Houthis to “facilitate unconditional and secure access to UN experts to conduct a full and impartial assessment and initial remedies mission without further delay,” according to a statement.
UN inspectors were originally supposed to assess the tanker last year, but the mission has been repeatedly delayed due to disagreements with the rebels.
The Huthis insist that the UN team carry out maintenance work, but the world body says it must be allowed to assess the site before proceeding with any work.
On Tuesday, Houthi rebels said negotiations with the UN were deadlocked after days of talks.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told the council meeting that the UN team “remains ready to deploy.”
“The UN will keep this team on hold as long as we have donor funding to do so,” said OCHA Director of Operations and Advocacy Reena Ghelani.
“Some of those funds, however, will start to run out soon, so we’re hoping things start to move a lot, a lot faster,” she said.
© 2021 AFP