Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 May 2019

UN chief vows probe into Hodeidah shooting on ceasefire monitors

Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the UN would use its "limited capacity" in the country to find the wrongdoers

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres acted to reassure the Houthi rebels that the UN was taking no sides in the conflict. AFP
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres acted to reassure the Houthi rebels that the UN was taking no sides in the conflict. AFP

Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday vowed to discover who was behind the shooting in Hodeidah a day earlier that targeted the UN team tasked with monitoring the area's month-long ceasefire.

One of the armoured vehicles being used by former Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, head of the UN observer mission in Hodeidah, was hit by small arms fire on Thursday, forcing them to leave the area they were in.

“I am concerned with the lack of trust that exists,” Mr Guterres told reporters in New York when asked about the shooting.

“We have limited capacity in Yemen but will do everything possible to clarify what happened.”

No one was wounded in the incident, which UN officials said was the result of one round of rifle fire hitting the vehicle.

The incident follows Houthi officials alleging that the UN has an agenda in Yemen, implying that the world body is siding with the country's internationally-recognised government.

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“I can guarantee that all our people working in Yemen have no agenda, other than peace in Yemen,” Mr Guterres added.

The Hoideidah ceasefire was agreed at peace talks between the government and the Houhis in Sweden last month. The deal called for the deployment of international monitors in Hodeidah and the establishment of a Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC). It is chaired by Mr Cammaert, who has been in Yemen since December 22. The UN Security Council unanimously agreed on Wednesday to extend the ceasefire monitoring mission for the vital Red Sea Port to post 75 observers for the next six months to ensure the fragile truce is held.

The Council's decision will almost quadruple the number of UN staff on the ground monitoring the ceasefire agreement. On Friday, Dr Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State, said that the incident should serve as a "wake up call for the international community" of the risks of the peace agreement being derailed.

Updated: January 18, 2019 11:07 PM

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