UN chief Antonio Guterres warns against Red Sea escalation

Red Sea. Attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea have severely disrupted international shipping. (file) Photo Courtesy: Unsplash/Angus Gray

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UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged countries to avoid an escalation in the situation in the Red Sea, where Houthi rebels in Yemen have been attacking commercial vessels amid the ongoing war in Gaza.

The UN chief’s appeal came a day after the United States and the United Kingdom, with the support of other countries, launched airstrikes across multiple parts of Yemen in response.

The UN Security Council is meeting in New York to discuss the crisis, just days after adopting a resolution demanding an end to the Houthi attacks.

Respect and compliance

The Secretary-General underscored that resolution 2722 must be fully respected in its entirety, his spokesperson said in a statement.

“The Secretary-General reiterates that attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable as they endanger the safety and security of global supply chains and have a negative impact on the economic and humanitarian situation worldwide,” it said.

Additionally, all Member States defending their vessels from attacks must do so “in accordance with international law, as stipulated in the Resolution.”

He also called on all parties involved not to further escalate the situation in the interest of peace and stability in the Red Sea and the wider region. 

“The Secretary-General stresses the need to avoid acts that could further worsen the situation in Yemen itself. He calls for every effort to be made to ensure that Yemen pursues a path towards peace and that the work undertaken thus far to end the conflict in Yemen should not be lost,” the statement concluded.