UN fears US blacklisting Houthis hinders FSO assessment

2021-01-16 | Since 1 Month

Safer FSO risks regional environmental disaster

New York (Debriefer) - A UN team is expected to head for the Red Sea, along with a company the UN contracted, to assess a Yemeni State-owned floating storage and offloading (FSO) facility early next month.
The UN is concerned that a US decision to designate Yemen's Houthis as terrorist group could hinder these efforts to gauge the derelict tanker Safer moored off the war-torn country's western coast.
"We are continuing to prepare for the Safer tanker assessment and are broadly on track with this work," UN spokesman said Friday.
"However, we have to look at potential impact of the US designation on the Safer mission – there are questions about potential legal jeopardy for the people who are going to do the mission, which of course we all want to avoid," Stephane Dujarric added.
Asked about these UN concerns, spokesman for the US State Department said they expressed their readiness to work with UN relevant officials, international and NGO organizations, and with other international donors to deal with impacts of the sanctions.
On Monday, the US Secretary of State said his department would advise the Congress to designate the Houthis as a terrorist group and to add Abdul Malik (their leader), Abdul Khaliq al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahiya al-Hakim into the global terrorists list.
These designations will provide additional tools to confront the Houthi terrorist activity, and they aim to hold the group responsible for its terrorist acts, including trans-border attacks threatening civilians, infrastructure and commercial shipping, Mike Pompeo added.
If approved by the Congress, the move would have the Houthis blacklisted as of 19 January, one day before the President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
Safer has not been repaired since 2014, with corrosion making the FSO facility at risk of looming explosion and, thus, the Red Sea at risk of the worst environment disaster, according to UN experts.

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