UN asks Houthis to reconsider order to expel US, UK nationals


UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations has asked Yemen’s Houthi authorities to reconsider their decision to expel US and British nationals working for the world body in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed on Wednesday that the United Nations has received communications from the Houthis, which gave the world body one month for all US and British nationals to leave the areas under the control of the de facto authorities, Xinhua news agency reported.

“What needs to be said is that any request or requirement for UN staff to leave based solely on the nationality of that staff is inconsistent with the legal framework applicable to the UN,” said Dujarric. “It also, of course, impedes our ability to deliver on the mandate to support all of the people in Yemen. And we call on all the authorities in Yemen to ensure that our staff can continue to perform their functions on behalf of the UN.”

He said UN staff serve impartially and serve the flag of the United Nations and none other.

The spokesman refused to say how many US and British nationals are working for the UN in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“I can find out the number of international staff. We do not give breakdowns of our staff’s own nationality,” said Dujarric.

The order of the Houthi militia came amid rising tensions between the US and British forces stationed in the Red Sea and the Houthis who have been attacking “Israeli-linked ships” in the region since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7, 2023.

The US-UK maritime coalition in the Red Sea has carried out multiple airstrikes on Houthi camps in various northern provinces of Yemen. It said these actions are aimed at preventing further Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea shipping lane.

The Houthi group vowed to continue targeting ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea until Israel ends its attacks and blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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