Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US said that the Kingdom is practicing extreme restraint against the barrage of attacks launched daily by Iran-backed Houthi militias against its territory and expressed her country’s determination to restore peace and security to Yemen.
“We are exercising extreme restraint in the face of a daily barrage of weaponized drones and ballistic missiles,” said Princess Reema bint Bandar in a statement posted to the Saudi Embassy in Washington’s website.
The ambassador emphasized that Saudi Arabia has been determined to restore stability and security to Yemen, through a negotiated settlement, since the beginning of the conflict, and it has supported all UN peace initiatives since 2015.
She stressed that Saudi officials remain active in their support of the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths and the US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking.
Princess Reema lashed out at the Iran-backed Houthis for their “egregious terrorist attacks” against the Kingdom, warning the international community that the Yemeni militia group believes it can act with impunity.
In the most recent incident, Saudi-led Arab coalition forces, backing Yemen’s internationally recognized government against the Houthis, intercepted a drone targeting an oil tank yard in Ras Tanura Port and a missile heading for an Aramco residential area in Dhahran on Sunday.
The attacks “represent a threat to the stability of global energy supplies, affecting the entire global economy and endangering the lives of Saudi workers in Aramco and thousands more from 80 different nationalities, including Americans,” noted Princess Reema.
She said that the situation is distressing because despite the Kingdom’s efforts to resolve the conflict in Yemen, Houthi cross-border attacks have escalated in the past few weeks.
In addition, she said, the Iran-backed group has launched an offensive in an attempt to take control of the oil-rich city of Marib, which has been a safe haven for internally displaced people since the conflict began six years ago. The Houthis have also shelled and bombarded the city of Taiz and other Yemeni civilian locations, she added.
“The Kingdom is committed to ending the war in Yemen through a political resolution, but on the other side of this conflict is a group driven by the extremist ideology of the Iranian regime,” the Saudi ambassador said.
“Houthis continue to show callous disregard for the suffering of our Yemeni brothers and sisters. Quite simply, by their actions, they show they are not interested in the type of serious dialogue it will take to end the nightmare in Yemen,” she added.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to provide weapons, training and technical support to the Houthis, she said as she called on the international community to take action to prevent the smuggling into Yemen of Iranian weapons that are “being used to terrorize Yemenis and to launch attacks on civilian targets in Saudi Arabia.”
The princess also pointed out that the Houthis have denied UN teams access to carry out emergency repairs on the Safer oil tanker, which has been moored in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen for more than five years. Its condition has deteriorated to the extent that it threatens a catastrophic oil spill.
The envoy praised the “brave and remarkable efforts” of the Saudi Armed Forces in successfully intercepting more than 526 Houthi drones and more than 346 ballistic missiles and protecting civilians from all manner of threats.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday that the Houthis must demonstrate willingness to engage in a political process to achieve peace in Yemen.
The leaders of the Iran-aligned Houthi movement “have to demonstrate their willingness to engage in a political process. They need to quite simply stop attacking and start negotiating,” said Price.
“Only then will we be able to make progress towards the political settlement that we’re after.”
Price said the attacks were “unacceptable” and put civilians at risk, including Americans.