ALEXANDRIA: The UN will continue talks with Iran-backed Houthi rebels until they agree to allow its experts to begin a vital assessment of the floating oil tanker Safer, and also urged the rebels to be more cooperative.
“We are continuing our efforts to send a team to the FSO Safer,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq told Arab News, adding that the primary goal of the UN salvage expedition was to assess the damage and conduct “light” maintenance to prevent the tanker from crumbling.
“This is what we said a month ago about this: ‘The United Nations is committed to its planned mission to assess the Safer oil tanker, conduct light feasible repairs to reduce the risk of a spill and formulate evidence-based recommendations for a permanent solution.”
The UN official was responding to Arab News’ request to comment on Houthi accusations that the UN was responsible for delays in the arrivals of the mission for allegedly breaching an agreement with the rebels.
On Thursday, the Houthi-controlled Safer Agreement Committee (SAC) blamed the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the failure of talks to repair the floating tanker after insisting on carrying out a “mere visual inspection work” rather than addressing the issue once and for all.
“The committee regrets the failure of UNOPS to comply with the agreement signed in November 2020 and its insistence on wasting time and wasting donors’ funds allocated to the project in fruitless meetings,” the Houthi committee said in a statement carried by the official Houthi news agency.