06:25 GMT23 June 2021
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The UN Security Council issued a statement calling on the armed Houthi political opposition faction to urgently facilitate unconditional and safe access for a United Nations technical mission to the decaying oil tanker off the coast of Yemen.

    Earlier in the day, the UN Security Council addressed, in open and closed consultations, the situation with the oil tanker Safer that was abandoned in the Red Sea for more than six years while loaded with 1.1 million barrels of oil. The boat is in urgent need of repair.

    "The members of the Security Council... stressed the need to urgently resolve outstanding issues and called on the Houthis to facilitate unconditional and safe access for UN experts to conduct the comprehensive and impartial assessment and initial repair mission without further delay," the statement said on Thursday.

    UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Director of Operations and Advocacy Reena Ghelani told the Security Council that the tanker’s physical structure has been degrading and that its underlying systems had ceased to work.

    Ghelani also said there is a "good chance" flammable gases are building up in some places of the vessel.

    The Houthis have showed reluctance to provide specific assurances to the United Nations for the world body to send a repair mission on the vessel.

    "The main sticking point seems to be what, exactly, the UN mission will do and – more specifically – why the United Nations cannot agree more in terms of repairs," Ghelani said.

    He also noted that "the UN has never been allowed to visit the site," indicating that the world body doesn't "know exactly what the conditions are like onboard."


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