“I condemn attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area and I reiterate the strong commitment of IMO to protect seafarers, ships, and cargoes, which is of the utmost importance to ensure the safety and security of global supply chains. Attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea area are not acceptable. Ships must be allowed to trade worldwide unhindered, in accordance with international maritime law. The meeting comes on the heels of a resolution adopted with an overwhelming majority of 153 Member States in favour and 10 against, with 23 abstentions at the General Assembly, which met last Tuesday in an emergency special session.
The IMO Secretariat is closely monitoring developments and communicating with relevant stakeholders, including the shipping industry, IMO Member States, and United Nations partners.The key points in common, include an immediate humanitarian ceasefire; demanding that all parties comply with their obligations under international law, notably regarding protection of civilians; and a demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access.The meeting is expected to start late morning on Tuesday, following Security Council meetings on the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and another meeting on the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), originally established in 1948.
Hopes for a new resolution
The General Assembly resolution was worded similarly as a draft resolution that was vetoed by the United States at the Security Council on 8 December.In it, the Assembly “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and well as “ensuring humanitarian access”.On Monday night, the United States said it was assembling an international protection force to help protect the vital trade route.The meeting, earlier scheduled for Monday afternoon (New York time) was postponed, ostensibly to give Council members more time to negotiate and find common ground.10:30 AM
The draft resolution also takes note of the reopening of the Karem Abu Salem or Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel to speed up delivery of aid, emphasizing the need to “expand the delivery and distribution”. It also “demands” the “immediate and unconditional release” of all hostages, as well as ensuring humanitarian access to address their medical needs.Since then, UNTSO military observers – based in Jerusalem – have remained in the Middle East to monitor ceasefires, supervise armistice agreements, prevent isolated incidents from escalating and assist other UN peacekeeping operations in the region.In response to continuing attacks by Houthi rebels off the Red Sea coast on international shipping which the rebel group says is in response to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim has just issued a further statement: