A confidential draft United Nations blacklist seen by Reuters names a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition for killing and maiming children in Yemen, though it notes that the alliance has put measures in place to improve child protection. This comes following a highly publicised visit of King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow.
“In Yemen, the coalition’s actions objectively led to the listing for the killing and maiming of children, with 683 child casualties attributed to this party, and, as a result of being responsible for 38 verified incidents, for attacks on schools and hospitals during 2016,” says a draft explanation of the blacklist. It has to be approved by Antonio Guterres, the current UN chief before publication and is subject to change. The Saudi UN ambassador, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, declined to comment until the report is officially issued.
The draft was published after the visit of King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Moscow on October 4 during which the two countries launched a joint energy investment fund worth $1 billion. The fund could include investments in natural gas projects and petrochemical plants.
Riyadh also intends to buy Russian S-400 missile systems, which raised some concerns from the Pentagon. According to Pentagon spokeswoman Michelle Baldanza, the “compatibility issues” between the US and Russian systems will become detrimental.
“The Saudi’s will not be able to link the S-400 with Saudi’s current (US and Europe-sourced) infrastructure, nor will they be able to connect the S-400 with US systems. More troubling to me is that Russia will gain a foothold in a nation that for decades has depended largely on defense systems acquired from the US and Europe,” writes Frank Cevasco, former longtime head of international affairs at the Pentagon. “That alone ensured a measure of interoperability among US, European and Saudi forces.”