Statement by Ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Houthi threats to commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

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We call on the Houthis to cease these attacks immediately

3 January 2024

Thank you, President. Let me start by congratulating France on assuming the Presidency for the month of January. You can count on our full support. I also welcome the 5 new elected members to the Council and look forward to working closely with them.

I join the Secretary-General in expressing condolences following the attack on a memorial ceremony in Iran that reportedly killed more than 100 civilians.

And I thank ASG Khiari and IMO Secretary General Dominquez for briefing us today.

President, the United Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms, the illegal and unjustified attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants.

We call on the Houthis to cease these attacks immediately.

Today we joined 11 countries in a statement warning against further attacks. We will continue to work with allies and partners to pursue all diplomatic routes to end this threat.

If necessary, as the UK Defence Secretary has stated, we will not hesitate to take action to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.

Attacks using unmanned aerial vehicles, missiles and small boats are a direct threat to freedom of navigation, protected by international law. They pose a severe economic threat not only to Yemen – where by driving up food prices they risk exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation – but also to global food security and supply lines.

Contrary to claims made by the Houthis, these attacks are totally indiscriminate and target shipping that has no connection to Israel. We call for the immediate release of the MV Galaxy Leader and its crew – nationals of Bulgaria, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania and Ukraine.

President, the British Foreign Secretary spoke with the Iranian Foreign Minister on Sunday, making clear our view that Iran shares responsibility for preventing these attacks, given their long-standing support to the Houthis.

We call on all parties in the region to exercise restraint and avoid escalation. We are deeply concerned by the impact on civilians, who are suffering the most through this crisis and would bear the brunt of further destabilisation. It is in all our interests to avoid this.

I thank you.

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