'I'm not angry' Bin Salman tells Ban Ki-moon

'I'm not angry' Bin Salman tells Ban Ki-moon
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince hints to UN head that no love is lost over Yemen child-blacklisting furore.
2 min read
23 June, 2016
Mohammed Bin Salman is in the US for meetings with business and political leaders [Getty]

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman met with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on Wednesday, where the pair discussed the UN's blacklisting of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, among other issues.

Asked on his way to the meeting about whether he was still upset with Ban, the powerful young prince replied: "I'm not angry".

After arriving at the UN headquarters 45 minutes late for his meeting, Bin Salman is said to have responded with a smile when the secretary-general affirmed that he stood by the UN report that criticised Saudi Arabia's Yemen coalition for serious violations against children.

The United Nations blacklisted the coalition after concluding in a report released on Thursday that it was responsible for 60 percent of the 785 children killed in Yemen last year.

Three days later, however, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced that the coalition would be scratched from the list pending a joint review with the Saudi-led alliance.

Ban then personally weighed in on the matter when he said that his decision to take the coalition off the list came after Saudi Arabia, along with other Arab and Muslim countries, threatened to cut off funding to UN humanitarian programmes.

'Optimistic' about Yemen

Moving forward, the UN's official statement on Wednesday's visit said that the pair had discussed "putting into place concrete measures that could improve the situation on the ground” to better protect children and civilians in Yemen".

"The secretary general expressed the hope that by the time he presents the Children and Armed Conflict report to the Security Council in August, he could point to progress on the protection of children and civilians in Yemen," it said.

The meeting was later described by the kingdom's UN envoy Abdullah al-Mouallimi as "excellent".

"The focus was on international issues, especially the issues of the region and there was broad agreement on virtually everything that was discussed," Mouallimi told reporters.

The Saudi ambassador also added that both Ban and Bin Salman were optimistic about the peace talks between Houthi rebels and Yemen's government in Kuwait. This is despite the fact that the talks have continued for months, thus far yielding few results.

Prince Mohammed is currently in New York for meetings with business leaders, after having already visited Washington and the country's west coast on this visit.