The US has formally notified the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday of the detention of an Iranian arms ship off the Yemeni coast.
“I would like to draw the council’s attention to the events of 28 June, when US and partner forces intercepted a ship off the coast of Yemen that contained Iranian weapons destined for the Houthi group,” expressed US Representative Kelly Craft at a special session on Yemen at the Security Council.
“The ship’s illicit cargo included 200 RPGs, more than 1700 AK rifles, 21 surface-to-air missiles, assault missiles, anti-tank missiles and other advanced weapons,” Craft added, without further clarifying the ship’s fate.
The US official noted that Yemen: “Does not need more weapons, and Iran must stop its efforts to arm the Houthis, because this only prolongs the conflict.”
In her testimony, Craft called on the Yemeni government and the Houthi group to: “Reduce tension on the ground and return to the commitment to a political settlement mediated by the United Nations.”
She indicated that the Houthi attacks outside the Yemeni border hamper efforts to reach a settlement in Yemen, in addition to protracting the conflict.
Iran denies providing weapons to the Houthis, while UN reports confirm the existence of Iranian arms used by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.
Yemen has been at war since 2014, when the Houthis took control of Sana’a and most of the country’s provinces, forcing President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his internationally-recognised government to flee the capital. In March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition was formed to support the legitimate government and since then has conducted air strikes against the Houthis on more than one front.
The Arab Coalition has launched air strikes continuously on Houthi-controlled areas, while Saudi Arabia was targeted by Houthi rockets in return.
Tens of thousands were killed as a result of the war, as estimates indicate that more than 100,000 Yemenis have been killed in the past five years. The fighting in the country has also caused the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.
UN reports reveal that about 24 million Yemenis require humanitarian assistance or protection, including ten million people who rely on food aid to survive.