Violent explosion shakes Aden refineries
Envoy urges restraint after six loyalist soldiers killed during military parade
DUBAI/CAIRO: A huge fire broke out after a violent explosion shook refineries in Yemen’s port city of Aden, Al Arabiya TV said Friday.
The reason for the explosion remained unclear.
Also Friday, Britain presented a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would expand an international observer mission monitoring a cease-fire in Yemen and allow humanitarian aid to reach millions on the brink of famine. The council is expected to vote on the measure next week, diplomats said.
The mission would provide for the deployment of up to 75 monitors in the rebel-held city of Hodeida and its port along with the ports of Saleef and Ras Isa for an initial period of six months, according to the draft obtained by AFP.
Talks between the Saudi-backed government and Houthi rebels last month in Sweden on ending the devastating war led to an agreement on the observer force.
A first group of about 20 monitors has been authorized by the council to begin work in Yemen, but their mandate was only for a month.
U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths has expressed alarm over an escalation of violence since the agreement there and called for restraint.
In tweets posted overnight Thursday, Martin Griffiths urged all parties to Yemen’s protracted conflict to exercise restraint.
Houthi rebels said they carried out the strike that hit a military parade at Al-Anad air base, in government-held Lahij province some 60 kilometers north of Yemen’s second city Aden. Six loyalist soldiers were killed and at least 12 people wounded, including top commanders, medics said.
Griffiths urged “all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and refrain from further escalation” and to “create a conducive environment to maintain the positive momentum generated” in Sweden.
The drone strike drew condemnation from the United Arab Emirates, a key contributor to the Arabled coalition fighting the rebels.
The “murderous drone attack tells you everything you need about the Huthis. Peace negotiations are a tactic to them, not a commitment,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar said, adding: “464 ceasefire violations, 36 killed & 318 wounded since [Sweden] agreement. The international community must increase pressure.”
The war between the Houthis and loyalist troops escalated in March 2015, when President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile, prompting the coalition to intervene. –