UN Security Council adopts resolution urging immediate halt to Yemen Houthi attacks in Red Sea News
UN Security Council adopts resolution urging immediate halt to Yemen Houthi attacks in Red Sea

The UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2722 on Thursday, condemning attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels and demanding “an immediate halt on all attacks on merchants and commercial vessels in the Red Sea.” Since November 2023, Houthi rebels have launched over a dozen attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea as a sign of support for Gaza amid Israel’s war in the region and declared their intention to target ships associated with Israel.

The resolution, sponsored by Japan and the US, passed with 11 votes in favor, none against and four abstentions from Russia, China, Algeria and Mozambique. It demanded an immediate and unconditional release of the Japanese-operated Galaxy Leader along with its crew that were seized on November 19. Further, it urged “caution and restraint to avoid further escalation of the situation in the Red Sea and the broader region.”

Russia proposed three amendments to the resolution, including the addition of the war in Gaza as the reason behind the Houthi attacks. However, were vetoed by the UK and the US. Russia stated they regretted that the proposed amendments were not adopted, emphasizing that the resolution should not legitimize the actions of the US-led coalition in the Red Sea, nor create a non-existent right for states to defend their ships. China said that the text remained “ambiguous on several key issues” and expressed concern that the resolution “might not achieve its intended effect.”

The US released a statement applauding the actions taken by UNSC against Houthi attacks.

The Houthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement, have been in conflict with Yemen’s government since 2004, which escalated into a civil war that began in 2014. Iran-backed Houthis deployed drones and missiles to target ships in the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Red Sea, disrupting a crucial trade route connecting Yemen, Djibouti and Eritrea. The attacks, which started in November with the seizure of the Galaxy Leader—an allegedly Israeli-linked cargo ship—prompted shipping firms to withdraw vessels from the region. The attacks also impacted global trade, particularly oil shipments through the Red Sea. Shipping companies were forced to use the longer and more expensive trade route around the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.

Israel released a statement in November 2023 stating that the ship had no connection with Israel and accused Iran of supporting the attacks. In response to the attacks, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned an individual and three currency exchange entities for their alleged roles in financing the Houthi attacks. The US, in addition, announced the deployment of a multinational force under Operation Prosperity Guardian to protect trade in the Red Sea through regular patrols.