Saturday, September 30, 2023

Saudi-led coalition seizes 3 Yemen-bound oil tankers

The Saudi-led coalition forces are holding three Yemen-bound oil tankers carrying thousands of tons of fuel for the crisis-stricken country in flagrant breach of a UN-brokered ceasefire, a Yemeni official confirmed.

The coalition has impounded the tankers, including two laden with tens of thousands of liters of diesel fuel, and is not allowing them to sail towards Yemen, Essam al-Mutawakil, a spokesman for the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC), told Arabic-language al-Masirah television network on Friday.

Mutawakil added that the ships, destined for Yemen’s western port of Hudaydah, are being held despite being inspected and cleared for the port call by the United Nations staff.

The senior Yemeni energy official went on to highlight that a total of 54 fuel ships were expected to moor in Hudaydah port as a result of the UN-sponsored truce.

Only 33 vessels have arrived at the port since the ceasefire initially took effect on April 2 and was extended on June 2 for another two months.

The official argued that the United Nations and UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg have failed to pressure the Saudi-led military alliance into allowing Yemen-bound fuel ships.

“The truce agreement has not allowed for shipments of fuel to arrive in Hudaydah easily,” Mutawakil said.

He lambasted the United Nations for simply implementing an aid plan for war-torn Yemen, where millions face hunger, and dismally failing to lift the crippling siege imposed on the country.

Earlier this month, Grundberg said the extended UN-sponsored truce, running from August 2 to October 2, included a commitment from the parties to intensify negotiations to reach an expanded truce agreement as soon as possible.

Under the terms of the truce, commercial flights have resumed from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a to Jordan and Egypt, while oil tankers have been able to dock in the lifeline port city of al-Hudaydah.

Moreover, in line with the agreement, the coalition agreed to end its attacks on Yemeni soil and end a simultaneous siege that it has been enforcing against Yemen.

Yemen has, however, reported many violations of the truce by the Saudi-led forces.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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