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Saudi-led coalition rejects UN blacklisting over Yemen

AFP , Sunday 5 Jun 2016
Saudi-led spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri
Saudi-led spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri (Photo: Reuters)
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The Saudi-led coalition fighting Shia rebels in Yemen rejected on Sunday a UN report that placed it on an annual blacklist over the deaths of hundreds of children in air strikes.

"The report is imbalanced and does not rely on credible statistics, nor does it serve the Yemeni people," coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Assiri told the official Saudi Press Agency.

"It misleads the public with incorrect numbers and mostly relies on information from sources associated with the Houthi militia and the deposed (former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah) Saleh," he said.

The report, released on Thursday by the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said 785 children had been killed and 1,168 injured in Yemen last year, blaming the Saudi-led coalition for 60 percent of the toll.

It blacklisted both the coalition and rebel forces for a "very large number of violations" including "attacks on schools and hospitals".

Saudi Arabia launched the intervention in Yemen in March last year in support of the internationally recognised government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Houthi rebels accused of having links with Iran and army units loyal to Saleh, who was forced out of office in 2012 under a Gulf-sponsored deal.

The war has left some 6,400 people dead, according to the UN.

Assiri said the coalition was in Yemen to "protect the Yemeni people, including children, from the actions of the Houthi militia."

He cited a $30 million Saudi aid programme for Yemen launched in cooperation with the UN children's fund (UNICEF).

In separate comments to the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, he said Ban's report would not help peace talks underway in Kuwait, and would "complicate the mission" of the UN's envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.

Human rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns about Saudi air strikes on urban areas in Yemen and accused the coalition of deliberately targeting civilians with cluster bombs, which would constitute a war crime.

In late May, US magazine Foreign Policy reported that the White House had frozen shipments of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia over concerns that its Gulf ally was using the weapons in areas where civilians were present.

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Faisal
06-06-2016 02:50am
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Brigadier General Duhh
The Brigadier General doesn't look like the sharpest tool in the box; no surprise Saudi is treading water in Yemen!
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lucky
06-06-2016 01:47am
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about those statistics....
Reads... MAY 12, 2015 Yemen: Houthis Send Children Into Battle Using Child Fighters Violates International Law Languages Available Inالعربية English Français Child soldiers with Houthi fighters hold weapons during a demonstration in Sanaa on March 13, 2015. EXPAND Child soldiers with Houthi fighters hold weapons during a demonstration in Sanaa on March 13, 2015. © 2015 Reuters (Beirut) – The Houthi armed group in Yemen has intensified its recruitment, training, and deployment of children in violation of international law. Since September 2014, when the Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, they have increasingly used children as scouts, guards, runners, and fighters, with some children being wounded and killed. The Houthis and other armed groups using child soldiers in Yemen should immediately stop recruiting children, including “volunteers,” and release all children in their ranks, Human Rights Watch said
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Ali
05-06-2016 04:31pm
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If you break it you own it
Saudi damaged the poor Yemen beyond repair, they're lucky they got only blacklisted, if they weren't a "strategic ally" they would have been referred to war crimes court!
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