Saudis support U.N. probe of Yemen crimes but question 'timing'
Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is pictured on a TV screen during the opening of the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, UN, in Geneva, Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)
The Associated Press
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2017 6:59AM EDT
GENEVA -- Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Geneva said Wednesday the kingdom would not oppose a resolution at the U.N.-backed Human Rights Council seeking an independent, international investigation of rights violations and crimes in war-torn Yemen, but raised questions about "timing."
Abdulaziz Al-Wasil's comments came as a Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's internationally recognized government has been fighting Shiite rebels.
"We have no objection (to) the inquiry itself, we just have a discussion about the timing," he said. "Whether this is the right time to establish an international commission with the difficulties on the ground, and we knew in advance that they will face tremendous obstacles in terms of access."
Al-Wasil added that such an inquiry might also best involve Yemeni nationals. "It's always easier for them basically to try to understand the dynamics of their country, and also they have connections to go to different regions," he said.
The U.N. says Yemen is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis, and it's being debated at the 47-member council's three-week session that began Monday.
Al-Wasil told two reporters Wednesday that "we have no objection of the inquiry itself. We just have a discussion about the timing." He suggested a Commission of Inquiry would face "tremendous obstacles in terms of access."
Saudi Arabia and Arab allies have thwarted past efforts at the council to create an international investigation.