By Caribbean News Global
LONDON, England – The United Kingdom condemns in the strongest terms, the illegal and unjustified attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Houthi militants, Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and James Kariuki said in a statement at the UN Security Council.
“We call on the Houthis to cease these attacks immediately. Today [January 3, 2023], 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.”
The UK Defence Secretary has stated, that “we will not hesitate to take action to deter threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.”
In a statement by ambassador James Kariuki at the UN Security Council meeting on Houthi threats to commercial shipping 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, ambassador Kariuki, continued: “We call for the immediate release of the MV Galaxy Leader and its crew – nationals of Bulgaria, Mexico, the Philippines, Romania and Ukraine.”
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,” said ambassador Kariuki at the UN Council.
The US has designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force-backed Houthi financial facilitator based in Iran. The Department of the Treasury action was taken pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended.
In a recent statement countering Houthi Marine attacks, the US Department of State, said:
“The Houthis’ continued attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden have disrupted the free flow of commerce through the region and endangered innocent mariners. Since October, the Houthis have launched numerous missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles at commercial vessels transiting near Yemen’s coastline, in clear violation of international law.
“The United States will continue to combat Iranian illicit financial support to the Houthis. We call on the international community to stand firmly against the destabilizing activities of the Houthis and their Iranian backers.”
Meanwhile, the Yemeni group attacked a container vessel of the shipping major Maersk. US army eliminated at least 10 Houthi fighters and sank three of their boats in the Red Sea in an exchange of fire.
“The Malaysian government decided to block and disallow the Israeli-based shipping company ZIM from docking at any Malaysian port.” Such sanctions were “a response to Israel’s actions that ignore basic humanitarian principles and violate international law through the ongoing massacre and brutality against Palestinians.”
Malaysia “also decided to no longer accept ships using the Israeli flag to dock in the country” and ban “any ship on its way to Israel from loading cargo in Malaysian ports,” reports The Times of Israel.
Operation Prosperity Guardian called on the Houthis, an Iranian proxy group, to cease targeting international commerce.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced the operation during a trip to the Middle East that ended last night. The secretary met with leaders in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Israel during the trip.
“The secretary emphasized the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and his key partner nations towards furthering our shared goals of security and stability throughout the Middle East region,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.
Austin discussed the importance of freedom of navigation in international waterways and the threat the Houthi attacks against commercial shipping in the Red Sea pose to world commerce. Between 10 and 15 percent of global shipping flows through the Red Sea, “and these attacks are impacting global trade and commerce, negatively impacting the economies of nations around the world and costing commercial shipping firms billions of dollars,” Ryder said.
There are concerns over suspended international shipping routes and services. New measures for sustained security operations, blockade and embargo, could increase costs for containerships, cruise ships and petroleum products.
The safer, costlier and longer routes via the Cape of Good Hope, have implications for higher insurance premiums, logistics and global supply chain management.
The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) announced that it will raise the transit fees for ships passing through the canal by 5-15 percent, effective from 15 January 2024.