China calls on Houthis to ‘respect’ right to navigation in Red Sea

Reiterating that the situation in Yemen and the Red Sea was “closely” related to the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian besieged enclave of Gaza, China has called on Yemen’s Houthis to “respect” the right to navigation of commercial vessels from all countries.

Over seven months have passed since the outbreak of the Gaza conflict, Chinese envoy to the UN Geng Shuang told a UN Security Council briefing on Monday. “The fighting has not only caused unprecedented civilian casualties and humanitarian catastrophe but also jeopardized regional peace and stability.”

Geng was addressing the Security Council after a briefing on Yemen by Martin Griffiths, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

To resolve the Yemeni issue, said the Chinese diplomat, “we must de-escalate the situation in the Red Sea as soon as possible.”

“We call on the Houthis to respect the right of navigation for commercial vessels of all countries in the Red Sea in accordance with international law and to cease immediately relevant attacks,” said Geng, according to a transcript of his statement delivered to the Council.

“We call on the parties concerned to exercise restraint and desist from actions that exacerbate tensions,” he said, stressing that political and diplomatic means should be used to solve the Yemen issue.

In response to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, Houthis stepped up attacks on commercial shipping vessels traveling through the Red Sea in mid-November, threatening shipments of oil and gas through the region.

In 2014, the Houthis took control over large swaths of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The next year, a military coalition of Arab countries intervened in the war, responding to a call by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government for military support against the rebels.

(Source: AA)