Vi­o­lent ex­plo­sion shakes Aden re­finer­ies

En­voy urges re­straint after six loy­al­ist sol­diers killed dur­ing mil­i­tary pa­rade

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

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. –

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