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Escalation in hostilities will provide opportunities for terror groups in Yemen: India


PTI, Mar 17, 2021, 8:52 AM IST

United Nations: India has expressed concern over the recent escalation in hostilities in several parts of Yemen, saying it is “worrisome” that this situation will provide opportunities for terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to spread their presence in the strife-torn country.

Speaking at the UN Security Council monthly meeting on Yemen on Monday, India”s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nagaraj Naidu termed as “deeply concerning” the reports of military confrontations in Taiz, Al Jawf and Sana’a governorates, asserting that it has resulted in several casualties, extensive destruction and renewed displacement of civilians.

“We are concerned at the recent escalation in hostilities in several parts of Yemen, especially in Marib which hosts a large number of internally displaced Yemenis,” Naidu said.

“The current escalation will also provide opportunities for terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State to spread their presence in Yemen, which is worrisome,” he said.

Naidu also condemned the drone and missile attacks launched by Ansarallah into Saudi Arabia and the deliberate targeting of civilian and energy infrastructure in the country, calling upon all parties to the conflict to eschew violence and to take meaningful steps towards dialogue and negotiations for a political settlement.

Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths told the Council that there has been a “dramatic” deterioration of the conflict in Yemen and Ansar Allah’s offensive on Marib governorate continues, putting civilians, including an estimated one million internally displaced persons, at risk.

“Cross-border attacks have also increased significantly in recent weeks. I am like all of us concerned by the intensification of the missile and drone strikes, including ones that have targeted civilian and commercial infrastructure in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, airstrikes took place within the confines of Sana’a city, endangering civilians there as well,” he said.

Griffiths stressed that there should be no preconditions for resuming the political process. “Resuming the process, and engaging seriously in it, is an obligation upon the warring parties anywhere. They need to engage constantly and seriously at all stages with the United Nations to make this happen,” he said.

He said they owe it to the people that they represent to provide hope even in these days that there is an end in sight to this conflict.

“I am alarmed, to be very frank, that the mere fact of meeting across the table to discuss with us or with others or with each other the contours of ending the war is being framed by some, not by all, as a concession rather than an obligation, as a transaction rather than a priority,” the UN special envoy said.

Naidu recalled that two years ago, when Yemen was faced with a perilous situation in Hudaydah, the international community had acted swiftly and decisively, which resulted in the signing of the Stockholm Agreement and averted a humanitarian catastrophe.

“A similar focused diplomatic push is required now, not only to stop the battle for Marib, but also conflicts elsewhere in the country,” he said.

Underlining that the already dire humanitarian situation in Yemen requires the full attention of the international community, Naidu said pledges from Yemen’s regional partners to support humanitarian and aid operations in the country and the enhanced contribution of some donor countries give reasons for hope.

India expressed disappointment over recent talks on exchange of prisoners and detainees ending without any agreement between the parties, voicing hope that there is resumption of talks in the near future.

Expressing support for the contribution made by Yemeni women to peace efforts in the country, Naidu said India has consistently held that greater participation of women in areas of conflict resolution, peace negotiations, peacekeeping and peacebuilding is conducive for lasting peace and security.

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