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The Security Council has convened to discuss the recent attacks in the Red Sea, as concerns grow about the potential for the violence to spread from the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
Middle East World News

The Security Council has convened to discuss the recent attacks in the Red Sea, as concerns grow about the potential for the violence to spread from the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

Key points:

  • Khaled Khiari, the UN’s Assistant Secretary-General, stated that there is no justification for the Houthi attacks on freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

  • All occurrences beginning in regions controlled by the Houthi group “must come to an end”.
  • He urged all parties involved in the larger area to refrain from escalating and instead reduce tensions and threats.

  • Requested a return to normal traffic flow in order to prevent Yemen from being pulled into a larger conflict in the region.

  • In the opinion of Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez, the assaults were deemed unacceptable. He stated that vessels should have the freedom to conduct global trade without any obstacles, following the guidelines of international law.

  • I repeated a plea for lowering tensions “in order to protect the well-being of our sailors, maintain open sea passages, and secure the reliability of transportation routes.”

  • The Council meeting concluded at 4:23 PM. You can view the video of the meeting on UN Web TV here.

You can access a detailed account of each speaker’s contribution through our Meetings Coverage Service, located here.

4:12 PM

France shares the responsibility with other nations to work towards achieving peace in Yemen.

Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France which holds the presidency of the Council this month, said through their armed actions, the Houthis and those who train and support them, bear a heavy responsibility for the escalation of tensions in the region as well as for international stability. 

According to him, France exercised its right to protect maritime safety by taking action against drones that posed a threat to one of its vessels. This occurred on December 9 when the frigate Languedoc destroyed the drones, as reported to the Council.

The Council is responsible for guaranteeing the continuation of the peace process in Yemen as outlined by the UN Special Envoy.

Attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea have severely disrupted international shipping. (file)

© Unsplash/Angus Gray

International shipping has been significantly impacted by assaults on commercial ships in the Red Sea.

France is committed to fulfilling its duties in the Bab Al Mandeb Strait and will work alongside its partners to ensure the protection of commercial vessels. The speaker emphasized the importance of all global and local organizations to refrain from any actions that may lead to increased tension.

3:50 PM

Gasoline to put out a fire: Russia

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, stated that limitations on the ability to navigate freely in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are not occurring without any context.

He stated that it cannot be denied that the events in the Red Sea are a direct reflection of the violence occurring in Gaza, where Israel’s violent military campaign has been ongoing for three months.

The situation is also intensifying in other areas of Palestinian land that is currently under occupation, according to his statement. This is also occurring along the border between Israel and Lebanon.

He accused the US of concealing Israel’s actions and controlling the remaining members of the Security Council by using their veto power to block any resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

He stated that there are two possibilities for the future: the first and preferred option is for the Council to intensify their efforts in finding a resolution to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and putting an end to the violence in the Gaza Strip.

The alternative, which has been deemed “catastrophic,” is to address the crisis in the Red Sea by using a potentially harmful solution, as urged by the United States and its allies.

Sadly, it appears that the second situation is developing. The speaker criticized the recently formed “international maritime coalition” led by the US, which was created to prevent Houthi attacks.

According to him, for the individuals with a tendency towards aggression in the government of Washington, any new conflict in the Middle East is simply another strategic maneuver.

3:41 PM

The Red Sea holds significance beyond its use as a transportation path: Algeria.

During his first speech as a member of the Security Council, Ambassador Amar Bendjama of Algeria expressed their dedication to global peace and protection.

He acknowledged the significant significance of the Red Sea route as being of utmost importance for the entire world.

The Permanent Representative of Algeria to the UN, Amar Bendjama, address the Security Council.

Possible rewording:
Photo by Manuel Elías for the United Nations.

Amar Bendjama, the Permanent Representative of Algeria to the United Nations, delivers a speech to the Security Council.

However, he stated that the maritime crisis should be viewed in a larger regional perspective.

The area is currently facing turmoil caused by the conflict in Gaza, which could potentially spread at any time. It is essential to avoid any regional disputes that could spiral out of control, he cautioned.

The UN Special Envoy’s efforts have resulted in positive developments in Yemen, as stated by him. He stressed the importance of avoiding any actions that could disrupt his work in the region.

He stated that a thorough examination requires knowledge of the area’s history and geography, making it crucial to tackle the underlying issues causing the conflict.

He cautioned that the current global and local turmoil is a reflection of a deeper dissatisfaction, noting the decline of the framework for collective security and the diminishing role of diplomacy.

He stated that the Red Sea held significance beyond its use as a trade route, praising it as a historic area where communities have valid ambitions and dreams.

A container ship passes through the Suez Canal.

A cargo vessel navigates through the Suez Canal.

3:39 PM

The UK will take prompt action if deemed necessary.

James Kariuki, the Deputy Permanent Representative of the UK, urged the Houthis to stop their attacks without delay.

James Kariuki, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN, addresses the Security Council meeting on the Red Sea.

UN Photo/Manuel Elías

James Kariuki, the Deputy Permanent Representative from the United Kingdom to the United Nations, speaks at the Security Council meeting regarding the Red Sea.

He said that we have joined a statement with 11 other countries cautioning against any future attacks.

We will continue to collaborate with our allies and partners in order to explore every possible diplomatic solution to put an end to this danger.

If needed, the UK’s Secretary of Defence has declared that we will not hesitate to act in order to prevent any threats to the freedom of movement in the Red Sea.

He emphasized that the Houthis’ assertions are false and that the attacks are aimed at random and do not involve any vessels linked to Israel.

On Sunday, the British Foreign Secretary had a conversation with the Iranian Foreign Minister. During the conversation, he emphasized our belief that Iran bears some responsibility for stopping these attacks due to their ongoing aid to the Houthis.

He urged all parties in the area to refrain from increasing tensions and to act with caution, showing worry for the well-being of innocent people.

3:25 PM

Japan’s Council must take action.

Kazuyuki Yamazaki, the Japanese Permanent Representative, expressed Japan’s strong displeasure with the armed “seizure” and ongoing detention of the Galaxy Leader, a Japanese-operated ship with a crew of 25 people from multiple countries, on November 19th.

He expressed his disapproval over the prolonged detention of the innocent crew for over 40 days.

The Red Sea serves as a crucial route for maritime traffic, and having to take a longer route around the Cape of Good Hope incurs higher expenses, requires more energy, and takes more time.

He strongly denounced the actions of the Houthi group and appealed to them to stop.

Ongoing assaults will result in adverse effects on supply networks and the worldwide economy. It is essential to consider future measures at this time, according to him. The Security Council must take suitable measures to prevent further aggression by the Houthis and uphold global peace and safety.

3:15 PM

A worldwide reaction is necessary: America.

The United States ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative, Christopher Lu, stated that the risk to navigational rights and freedoms in the Red Sea is a worldwide issue and requires a global reaction.

The Houthis have been cautioned against persistently attacking commercial ships passing through the significant shipping route in the Red Sea. This warning comes as more and more people agree on the importance of maintaining free navigation, promoting peace and security in the region, and supporting international trade.

As of November 19th, there have been more than 20 assaults carried out by the Houthis, according to his statement. He also mentioned that the US and its partners have initiated joint naval efforts to safeguard ships in the southern region of the Red Sea and discourage unlawful non-state groups.

US-Houthi standoffs

During a previous event, members of the US navy gave verbal cautions to the Houthi assailants. However, instead of stopping their attacks, the assailants chose to retaliate by shooting.

Three boats belonging to the Houthi group sank after being targeted. In addition, two anti-ship missiles were launched at US Navy ships from areas controlled by the Houthis.

He stated that these attacks are in direct violation of international law and have serious consequences for maritime safety. They also worsen the already fragile humanitarian crisis in Yemen, hindering the efforts of the global community to provide aid to 21 million people in dire need.

He also revealed the source of the issue – Iran’s ongoing funding support for Houthi operations.

He urged the Council to unify their message and request an end to the Houthis’ attacks.

The speaker urges the Council to take action on this worldwide issue and is willing to engage in further conversation with other countries.

Ambassador Christopher P. Lu of the United States addresses a Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security in the Red Sea.

The photo was taken by Manuel Elías for the United Nations.

The US Ambassador Christopher P. Lu speaks at a Security Council meeting about preserving global peace and security in the Red Sea.

3:13 PM

The head of the International Maritime Organization is emphasizing the importance of protecting seafarers’ safety.

The IMO’s Secretary-General, Arsenio Dominguez, stated that new reports received by the organization indicate that the Houthis are not only targeting ships connected to Israel in their attacks.

Many companies are choosing to redirect their ships away from South Africa in order to decrease their potential risks. This adds an average of 10 days to their journeys and has a detrimental effect on global trade and freight expenses.

He mentioned previous suggestions that were made in December regarding how to address the crisis. He also noted that the IMO already has a program in place for security in the Red Sea region.

He repeated his request for decreasing tensions “to guarantee the safety of our sailors, the ability to navigate freely, and the stability of supply routes.”

According to him, IMO will keep a watchful eye on the situation and work with Member States and industry partners, as well as navies responsible for maintaining maritime security.

3:10 PM

Prevent the situation from worsening and potential for a ‘regional inferno’: Khairi

Mr Khairi stated that it is necessary for incidents originating from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen to cease.

He stated that no reason or complaint can excuse the ongoing attacks on freedom of navigation.

We urge all involved parties to prevent any further increase in tension and work towards reducing existing tensions and threats in the region. This is crucial in order for traffic in the Red Sea to return to its usual state and to prevent the risk of Yemen being pulled into a larger regional conflict.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari addresses a Security Council meeting on the maintenance of international peace and security in the Red Sea.

The photo was taken by Eskinder Debebe for the United Nations.

Khaled Khiari, the UN Assistant Secretary-General, speaks at a Security Council session about upholding global peace and security in the Red Sea.

He stated that the Council’s continued support in actively involving all relevant parties who have the ability to promote restraint is highly beneficial. This collaborative effort is crucial in preventing further escalation in the Red Sea, which could worsen tensions in the region and jeopardize peace, security, and international trade.

3:04 PM

The gathering has recently commenced, with France in charge as the chair for the month of January.

The UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for the Middle East, Khaled Khiari, expressed concern about recent events in the Red Sea since the Council’s previous meeting on the crisis.

He expressed worry about the potential consequences of increased military actions and dangers to sea travel, stating that it could have a significant impact on millions of people in Yemen, the surrounding area, and worldwide.

2:40 PM

Since Hamas’ attacks on October 7th, there have been more than 20 instances of Houthi rebels in Yemen targeting international shipping in the Red Sea’s important shipping lanes. This follows Israel’s severe offensive in response to the attacks.

The capital and significant portions of the country, including the Red Sea coast, are under the control of the Houthi rebel movement. In mid-November, they started attacking suspected vessels bound for Israel, following earlier missile and drone strikes against Israel, in solidarity with the extremist organization Hamas.

The focus has now been expanded to encompass all global shipping companies, as long as Israel continues to block the entry of essential aid into Gaza. This has led to many vessels taking longer routes, such as around the Cape of Good Hope, resulting in additional expenses and delays that drive up costs.

Amid heightened tensions and apprehension about the spread of conflict in the region, Iran has allegedly refused requests from the US and UK to cease their backing of Houthis’ assaults, following the killing of a top Hamas official and other leaders in Beirut earlier this week.

On Monday, an Iranian warship entered the Red Sea. Meanwhile, on December 18th, a task force led by the US and other countries was created to combat Houthi assaults.

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On December 1st, the Security Council released a statement condemning the Houthi threat and denouncing the attacks with strong language. They also demanded the prompt release of the MV Galaxy Leader, a Japanese-registered ship that was captured by rebels on November 19th.

At 3:00 PM, two high-ranking representatives from the United Nations will provide updates to ambassadors. After the public meeting, the Security Council, consisting of 15 members, will convene a private session.

A prompt to remember the latest Security Council decision regarding the Gaza emergency on December 22, in which ambassadors urged for the swift and unobstructed distribution of crucial aid to suffering civilians in Gaza.

The most recent Council meeting on December 29th discussed the crisis and the UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed concern about the increasing dangers of potential spillover.

The source is from the United Nations news website.