UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Saudi Arabia's U.N. ambassador said Friday he is concerned about the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen but doesn't see the need for a Security Council resolution addressing it.
U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien has accused all parties in Yemen's conflict, including the Saudi-led coalition and the rebels it has been fighting for nearly a year, of attacking hospitals and schools. Security Council members have begun discussing a proposed resolution on the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world's poorest country.
But Saudi Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs had told his office that it doesn't believe the council's intervention is needed.
"There are reports here and there about what the Security Council is up to," Al-Mouallimi said. "We continue to believe that a political solution is the only way to resolve the Yemeni crisis."
OCHA deputy spokesman Jens Laerke said the office couldn't comment on the ambassador's statement. "OCHA cannot comment on what a diplomat may say he has heard," he said.
Yemen's conflict pits the government, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis allied with a former president. The Houthis took over the capital, Sanaa, in September 2014, and the U.S.-backed coalition began airstrikes against them in March 2015.
The absence of a national government in many parts of the country has allowed for the expansion of groups like the Islamic State group and al-Qaida. Amid the chaos, the vast majority of Yemenis are reported to be short of basic supplies like food and fuel.
Angola's U.N. Ambassador Ismael Gaspar Martins, the current Security Council president, said Thursday that members are discussing a new resolution on the humanitarian situation "because the situation is evolving toward a very drastic one ... before our eyes."
Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, told journalists in Geneva on Friday that the number of civilians killed in Yemen doubled between January and February. At least 168 civilians were killed and 193 injured last month, around two-thirds of them by coalition airstrikes, he said.
O'Brien has told the council that more than 2,000 children are estimated to have been killed or injured since the start of the conflict, including at least 90 children killed so far this year.
On Friday, gunmen in southern Yemen stormed a retirement home run by a charity established by Mother Teresa, killing 16 people, including four Catholic nuns, officials and witnesses said.
Associated Press writer Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed to this report.