UN Envoy ‘Gravely Dismayed’ by Houthi Escalation against Saudi Arabia

Remains of a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi militias against Saudi Arabia are displayed by the Arab coalition. (SPA)
Remains of a ballistic missile fired by the Houthi militias against Saudi Arabia are displayed by the Arab coalition. (SPA)

UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths expressed his grave disappointment after the Iran-backed Houthi militias fired ballistic missiles towards civilian targets in Riyadh and Jizan in Saudi Arabia.

"I am gravely dismayed and disappointed by these actions at a time when the Yemeni public's demands for peace are unanimous and louder than ever before.

Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak," he said in a statement on Sunday.

He reiterated that indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians or civilian targets, whether inside or outside of Yemen, are unlawful and reprehensible.

Griffiths emphasized that the recent uptick in fighting runs counter to the stated commitments to work on a ceasefire. Besides, their positive responses to the call by the UN Secretary-General to end the fighting in Yemen.

"In wars, the windows to build unity and find common grounds between fighting parties are rare and precarious. There are always those who will do their best to spoil such opportunities. We cannot let them win. I am constantly in touch with the parties; urging them to be more responsive to this moment's great potential and grave risks and discuss the way forward soonest under the auspices of my office," he added.

"I hope the peace advocates on either side of the conflict will not allow this window to close without making real progress."

The envoy further expressed his gratitude for the outspoken support for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen in recent days by Yemeni political leaders. Besides, tribal chiefs and civil society groups including women and youth, as well as regional and international stakeholders.

Conflict comes to the table

"Our work with the parties to launch a formal ceasefire process is ongoing. We remain hopeful that all involved in the conflict will come to the table. They will also put Yemenis and their best interest first," Griffiths said.

Saudi defenses intercepted and destroyed late on Saturday two ballistic missiles that were fired at the Kingdom.

Saudi-led Arab coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki also accused the Houthis; with the backing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, of firing the missiles.

The timing of the attack underscores the true threat of these terrorist militias and their Iranian backers. As the world focuses on the fight against the new coronavirus, he remarked.

The attack proves that the Houthis are not serious about achieving peace. Nor they respect the call for calm in Yemen to fight the pandemic, he noted.

The Arab coalition will continue to take decisive action to deter and destroy the Houthis' ballistic capabilities. This is also to protect civilians and regional and international security, vowed Malki.

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