Deputy FM, European Counterparts Discuss Yemen Crisis
Monday, February 19, 2018

Deputy FM, European Counterparts Discuss Yemen Crisis

Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi met with his counterparts from European powers on Saturday to discuss the latest developments in the Yemen war. The deputy-level talks with Britain, France, Germany, and Italy were held on the sidelines of the ongoing 2018 Munich Security Conference, Fars News Agency reported.
They came amid media reports that Britain and France have finally decided to join the hawkish US administration in urging the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for allegedly failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen's Houthi group and commit to take action over the alleged sanctions violations. 
The call from the two European nations came in a resolution they drafted in consultation with the United States to renew UN sanctions on Yemen for another year. 
The resolution would also allow the 15-member council to impose targeted sanctions for "any activity related to the use of ballistic missiles in Yemen, " according to the draft text seen by Reuters on Saturday, one day after it was presented to the full council.
US President Donald Trump's administration has been lobbying for months for Iran to be held accountable at the United Nations, while at the same time threatening to quit a 2015 deal among world powers to curb Iran's nuclear program if "disastrous flaws" are not fixed.
"Since the signing of the nuclear agreement, the Iranian [government's alleged] support of dangerous militias and terror groups has markedly increased. Its missiles and advanced weapons are turning up in war zones all across the Middle East," the US ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, claimed in an essay published in the New York Times, the latest anti-Iran rhetoric from Trump's administration. A Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni civil war in 2015 in support of government forces fighting against Iran-allied Houthi group to reinstall the ousted Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. 

  Russian Resistance 
Iran has denied supplying the Houthis with weapons. The draft UN resolution, which needs to be adopted by Feb. 26, is likely to face resistance from Russia. A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass. The Russian mission to the United Nations was not immediately available for comment on the draft resolution. Independent UN experts monitoring the sanctions on Yemen reported to the Security Council in January that it had "identified missile remnants, related military equipment and military unmanned aerial vehicles that are of Iranian origin and were brought into Yemen after the imposition of the targeted arms embargo."
While the experts said they have "no evidence as to the identity of the supplier, or any intermediary third party" of the missiles fired by the Houthis into neighboring Saudi Arabia, they alleged Iran had violated sanctions by failing to prevent the supply, sale, or transfer of the missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles to the Houthis. The UN Security Council has banned the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and "those acting on their behalf or at their direction." 
It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access.
Haley took her Security Council colleagues to Washington in January to view pieces of the weapons in a bid to boost the US case against Iran. 
Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said after the visit that he does not believe there is a case for United Nations action against Iran. Iran has described the arms displayed in Washington as "fabricated".
"Some members of the United Nations don't want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the UN to do something about it," Haley wrote in the New York Times.


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