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Letter from Saudi Arabia accusing Iran of supplying weapons to the Houthi rebel militias in Yemen

United Nations
Security Council


Distr.: General
16 September 2016
Original: English

Letter dated 14 September 2016 from the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council

Upon instructions from my Government, I wish to bring the following to your attention:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the victim of Houthi militia rebels and forces loyal to the former President, Ali Saleh, who have engaged in indiscriminate and irresponsible targeting, including through rocket attacks and ballistic missile attacks, on the Saudi border as well as within Saudi Arabia's territorial limits, resulting in hundreds of civilian fatalities and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including damage to schools and hospitals.

These attacks were launched against several provinces in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, including Najran, Jazan and Asir. Saudi territories were exposed to close to 30 ballistic missile attacks. On 31 August 2016, Houthi rebel militias and their supporters fired a ballistic missile of the type "Zilzal-3" ("Earthquake-3") at the city of Najran, in the south of Saudi Arabia. The "Zilzal-3" rocket is a short-range ballistic missile produced in Iran.

In violation of Security Council resolution 2216 (2015), weapons and ammunition have been supplied to the Houthi rebel militias in Yemen by Iran. On multiple occasions, Iranian illicit weapons were intercepted by several Member States and the Combined Maritime Forces. These maritime seizures of weapons, including by Australia, France and the United States of America, uncovered huge shipments of illicit arms confirmed to have originated in Iran. On 4 April 2016, the United States Fifth Fleet released a statement confirming "for the third time in recent weeks, international naval forces operating in the waters of the Arabian Sea seized a shipment of illicit arms ... which the United States assessed originated in Iran and was likely bound for Houthi insurgents in Yemen". Multiple reports of similar interdictions documented the seizure of large quantities of weapons and ammunition, among them Iranian-made anti-tank missiles, thousands of assault rifles, Dragunov sniper rifles, AK-47s, spare barrels, mortar tubes and hundreds of rocket-propelled grenades, RBG missile launchers and other illicit arms. Moreover, the nationality of most of the crew of the vessels intercepted was assessed to be Iranian.

The smuggling of illicit arms to Houthi-Saleh rebel militias not only is a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions but also constitutes a direct and tangible threat to the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the region, as well as the maintenance of international peace and security.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reaffirms its right to take all appropriate measures to counter the threats by the Iran-funded and Iran-backed Houthi-Saleh rebel militias and will spare no effort in protecting the security and safety of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Yemen and its people and the region, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law.

The Houthi rebel militias and forces loyal to the former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and their foreign ally must be held accountable for their continued irresponsible and criminal behaviour. Complacency will only encourage further violations jeopardizing the safety and security of the Yemeni people, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region. Moreover, it will undermine the credibility of the Council's resolutions and further impede a political settlement of the crisis in Yemen.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia calls upon the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility and take the appropriate and the necessary measures against the spoilers of the Yemeni political transition and those who have violated the relevant Council resolutions, especially resolution 2216 (2015), adopted by the Council under Chapter VII of the Charter. In particular, we further urge the Council to take all measures necessary to demand that Iran comply with all the relevant Council resolutions and cease and desist from any illegal actions in Yemen.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reiterates its support for the important work of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, to reach a comprehensive agreement to end the conflict in Yemen, in accordance with the initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference and its implementation mechanism and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

I should be grateful if you would have the present letter circulated as a document of the Security Council.

(Signed) Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi
Permanent Representative

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