The ongoing war in Yemen, which has displaced millions of people, is far more complex than a Sunni-Shia conflict.
The United Kingdom is planning to put forward a draft United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate truce in Yemen and a resumption of peace talks.
The 15-member body this week failed to agree on a statement condemning an October 8 air strike that killed some 140 people. Russia dismissed the statement as too vague and diplomats said Moscow refused to engage any further on it.
“Sadly, the Yemen statement is dead,” the UK’s Ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, told reporters on Friday. Council statements must be agreed by consensus.
“We have decided instead to put forward a draft Security Council resolution on Yemen calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political process,” he said. “We will be circulating that to council colleagues in the coming days.”
The draft text will also press for access for humanitarian aid.
A Saudi-led Arab coalition has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally backed President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power, after rebels took over the capital Sanaa, made gains in other provinces and forced Hadi’s government to flee into exile.
More than 6,700 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Yemen since the coalition first intervened, according to the UN.
Yemen ranks as a level 3 emergency – the highest on the UN humanitarian scale – with nearly 70 percent of the population of 21 million facing food shortages.
Fighting in Yemen has intensified since UN-led peace talks in Kuwait ended in August without an agreement. The fighting has been concentrated around Sanaa.
Tensions rose further after Saturday’s air strikes, widely blamed on Saudi warplanes, which ripped through a wake attended by some of Yemen’s top political and security officials, killing 140 people.
The US military launched cruise missiles on Thursday against three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces, after failed missile attacks this week on a US Navy destroyer, US officials said.
Houthi rebels and their allies denied any involvement in the alleged missile strikes on the US ship.