DUBAI May 25 The United Nations urged
authorities in Houthi-controlled Sanaa on Thursday to
investigate a "grave attack" on the convoy of its envoy to Yemen
during his visit to the capital.
U.N. special envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed was in Sanaa
for three days of talks aimed at preventing military action at
the strategic port of Hodeidah, the entry point for 70 percent
of Yemen's food supplies as well as humanitarian aid.
A U.N. statement said that Ahmed's convoy came under attack
while travelling from the airport in Sanaa to the United Nations
compound. The Houthi-run Saba news agency has denied any attack.
The U.N. statement gave no details, but local officials said
shots were fired towards the convoy by unknown assailants.
"The Special Envoy expressed his deep concern regarding the
grave attack on his convoy while travelling from the airport to
the UN compound on 22 May," the U.N. statement said.
"The Special Envoy reminded the parties that it is the
responsibility of the local authorities to ensure the safety of
all UN personnel in the country and urged them to investigate
the incident, hold those responsible to account, and prevent any
such incidents in the future," it added.
The General People’s Congress, the party of former President
Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied with the Iranian-aligned
Houthis, condemned the attack and also called for an
However, the Houthi-run Saba news agency has denied any
attack on the convoy and said gunshots were fired into the air
by security forces assigned to guard the envoy's mission to
disperse demonstrators trying to block his path.
The Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting since March
2015 to end Houthi rule and restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour
Hadi to power have demanded that the port of Hodeidah be handed
over to international control to spare it an attack.
The coalition has accused the Houthis of using the port to
smuggle in weapons and ammunition, which the Houthi's deny.
The frontline of the civil war that has killed more than
10,000 people is in Midi, 230 km (140 miles) north of Hodeidah
near the border with Saudi Arabia, and in the south outside
al-Khoukha region, 130 km (80 miles) south of Hodeidah.
According to the U.N. statement, Ould Cheikh Ahmed also
discussed ways to ensure the resumption of salaries to Yemeni
civil servants who complain that salaries have not been paid on
time since Hadi ordered the central bank moved from Sanaa last
year to the southern port city of Aden.
(Writing by Sami Aboudi, Editing by William Maclean and Elaine