Yemen's government yesterday threatened to end its cooperation with a U.N. rights mission, accusing investigators of bias after a report raised fears of war crimes in the conflict-hit country.
The government, allied with a regional Saudi-led military coalition battling Yemeni rebels, came under fire last month after U.N. experts highlighted deadly air strikes by the alliance.
"With our allies in the coalition, we are studying the best way to deal with the U.N. team and looking at all options, including ending or not extending the team's mandate after they proved their bias and inaccuracy," Mohammed Asker, Yemen's human rights minister, told a press conference in Abu Dhabi.
The coalition has dismissed as "inaccurate" and "non-neutral" the U.N. experts' August 28 report, which accused both government forces and the Houthi rebels of violations against international law. The report said coalition air strikes had caused "most of the documented civilian casualties" and voiced "serious concerns about the targeting process applied by the coalition." It listed a large number of strikes on residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings and medical facilities with no apparent military targets in the vicinity of the attacks. U.N.-backed talks between the government and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels were scheduled to open in Geneva yesterday. But as of yesterday afternoon the rebel delegation had not yet left for the Swiss city. A rebel spokesman had accused the coalition, which controls Yemen's airspace, of failing to provide air transport.