Yemen facing 'triple tragedy' of conflict, cholera, famine, United Nations says

President Hadi: Iranian Plots Failed in Yemen

A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition was responsible for an "unacceptably high" 51 percent of child deaths and injuries in Yemen past year, according to a draft United Nations report seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Since 2015, Yemen has been the site of a devastating war between the Saudi-backed government and Huthi rebels allied with Iran.

The airport is held by the rebel Houthi fighters who also control the rest of the capital, but airspace over Yemen is dominated by the rival Saudi-led Arab coalition, which is helping the Yemeni government fight the Iran-linked Shiite rebels.

The Saudi-led air coalition was responsible for inflicting the largest number of child casualties, 683, with Houthi rebels killing or injuring 414.

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It was removed by then-secretary-general Ban Ki-moon after Saudi Arabia and other coalition supporters threatened to stop funding many United Nations programmes.

Saudi Arabia's United Nations mission said in a statement on Wednesday that there was "no justification whatsoever" for including the coalition's name on the blacklist.

António Guterres may freeze the UN's annual "list of shame" naming countries responsible for the worst violations of children's rights in conflict. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the coalition includes Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

The findings were included in a draft copy of the U.N.'s annual report of Children and Armed Conflict, which documented human rights violations of at least 15,500 children previous year by government forces, terrorists and armed opposition groups in more than a dozen conflicts around the world.

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Saudi Arabia's UN Mission said in a statement the coalition maintains its position "that there is no justification whatsoever for including its name in the annex of the secretary-general's report on children and armed conflict".

"The killing and maiming of children remained the most prevalent violation" of children's rights in Yemen, according to the 41-page draft report obtained by Foreign Policy.

"It is simply wrong to insist these cargoes go to Aden, not Hodeidah", O'Brien told the U.N. Security Council, appealing for countries to back a U.N. mechanism that started inspecting commercial shipments to rebel-held ports in May previous year. "However, despite these measures, grave violations against children continued at unacceptably high levels in 2016".

Haq said Guterres is scheduled to meet Gamba on Friday but the report isn't expected to be completed for another month. "It's still a work in progress", Haq said.

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