UAE: 'Iranian arms shipments to Houthis prolonging Yemen conflict'

UAE: 'Iranian arms shipments to Houthis prolonging Yemen conflict'
The Saudi Arabia-allied UAE has called on the UN to sanction Iran over its alleged arms shipments to Houthi rebels in Yemen, accusing Tehran of "prolonging" the conflict.
2 min read
01 December, 2016
The UAE has echoed US and Saudi Arabia's accusations that Iran is arming Houthis [Getty]
The UAE, Saudi Arabia's ally in war-ravaged Yemen, says it is alarmed at reports Iran is supplying weapons to Houthi rebels.

Tehran's involvement is "prolonging" the 19-month conflict, claimed the UAE's UN ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, adding the Houthis' formation of a government was the "latest manifestation" of the Islamic Republic's arms shipments.

"These shipments are further evidence of Iran's expansionist and destabilising behaviour in Yemen, fuelling the conflict and endangering Yemeni civilians and Yemen's neighbours," Nusseibeh said in a statement on Wednesday.

Iran is a key backer of the Houthi rebels in Yemen, while an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States is fighting in support of the internationally-recognised government, ousted by the insurgents in 2014.

Saudi Arabia, which has been strongly criticised over the high number of civilians killed in its airstrikes, has also accused Iran of arming Houthis, charges Tehran denies.

"Such activity would be a flagrant violation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2216 (2015) and 2231 (2015), and the UAE calls on the Security Council to take all measures necessary to demand that Iran comply with its obligations," Nusseibeh added.

"The UAE believes that Iranian arms shipments are undermining the important work of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Sheikh Ahmed, to reach a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in Yemen.

"The UAE shares the Special Envoy's concern, expressed on Tuesday, over the unilateral declaration of a government by Ansar Allah and the General People's Congress, which is only the latest manifestation of how ongoing arms shipments by Iran are instrumental to prolonging the conflict."

The UN says the war in Yemen has killed more than 10,000 people and wounded nearly 37,000 since March last year.