UNICEF voices concern over children’s deaths.
SANAA/N.Y – Casualties mounted in Yemen Wednesday as world powers grappled with the political crisis paralyzing the impoverished and restive nation. The United Nations Security Council met for the first time Tuesday to tackle the hostilities in Yemen, in which anti-government protesters have clashed with security forces and pro-government demonstrators over the last two months. The U.N. efforts to deal with the Yemen crisis coincide with the on going initiative of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, or the GCC – a coalition of Gulf Arab nations working to ease tensions between Yemen’s government of Ali Abdullah Saleh and a restive opposition. The Security Council was unable to agree on a joint statement, and it’s unclear whether any diplomatic reaction will be forth coming on Yemen in the coming days.
One death was reported in Hodeida on Wednesday, when security forces in civilian clothing shot and killed a protester, sourcessaid. Witnesses and medical officials Wednesday updated the casualty toll from demonstrations Tuesday in Sanaa to five dead and 65 wounded. At the United Nations, the Security Council was briefed by a senior U.N. political affairs officer and a U.N. envoy to Yemen. Germany and Lebanon introduced a statement on Yemen which would have called for restraint in violence, among other themes.
The United States and France wanted to also express support for the efforts of the GCC. Germany voiced concern about the deteriorating situation in Yemen at the meeting and called on all parties to have a dialogue in Yemen. It also expressed support for the GCC. But one U.N. diplomat said concerns from China and Russia blocked a unified response to the developments, and some countries wanted more time to consult their governments.
UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado told journalists in Geneva, Switzerland, that at least 26 children have been killed, mainly by live bullets or ammunition over the last two months.