Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations. — VNA/VNS Photo
NEW YORK — Ambassador Đặng Đình Quý, head of the Vietnamese Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN), has called on relevant parties, especially Houthi rebels, to create favourable conditions for UN experts to address the issue related to an oil tanker off Yemen waters to avert an environmental catastrophe.
Addressing a UN Security Council teleconference on the situation of FSO Safer on Wednesday, Quý urged Houthi rebels to provide practical support to UN experts and ensure they can work on board the oil tanker until their tasks are completed.
The Vietnamese ambassador also called for cooperation and dialogue between the related parties to solve differences in using the money collected from the selling of oil on the tanker.
FSO Safer, officially owned by the Government of Yemen, has been controlled by Houthi rebels since 2015. It is loaded with more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil and has not been under maintenance or repair for the past five years.
The one-time supertanker, built in Japan in 1974, is deteriorating daily, upping the risk of an oil spill that would wreck ecosystems and livelihoods for decades. It sprung a leak on May 27, flooding its engine room with seawater and threatening to destabilise the vessel and spill its cargo.
If an oil spill occurs, it could cause economic losses of up to US$1.5 billion, and affect 100 per cent of Yemen’s fisheries within a matter of days. The closure of the nearby key port of Al Houdeidah for five to six months would meanwhile trigger a 200 per cent increase in fuel prices.
The UN estimates that around 1.6 million Yemenis would lose their livelihoods and 8.4 million people would be affected by air pollution.
“Time is running out for us to act in a coordinated manner to prevent a looming environmental, economic and humanitarian catastrophe,” said United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) chief, Inger Andersen.
Africa’s Great Lakes region
Regional and international cooperation are two crucial factors to wipe out security instability in Africa’s Great Lakes region in natural resources management, Ambassador Quý said at a video conference held by the UN Security Council on Wednesday via the Arria-formula meeting.
Quý said regional collaboration plays a leading role in the field since countries share mutual benefits and goals.
The diplomat also suggested the involved parties reform legal frameworks while increasing cooperation frameworks, promoting transparency of supply chains and intensifying information and data sharing.
Delegates attending the meeting agreed that there should be a holistic approach to the illegal exploitation of resources in the Great Lakes region by promoting the role of all regional countries, as well as technical and financial support from international organisations and regional partners. — VNS
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