U.N. says U.S. blacklisting of Yemen group may hinder bid to avert oil spill
By Michelle Nichols NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Nations is concerned that a U.S. plan to blacklist Yemen's Houthi movement on Tuesday will hinder its efforts to assess a decaying oil tanker that is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil off the war-torn country's coast. The Safer tanker has been stranded off Yemen's Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for more than five years, and U.N
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United Nations is concerned that a U.S. plan to blacklist Yemen's Houthi movement on Tuesday will hinder its efforts to assess a decaying oil tanker that is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil off the war-torn country's coast.
The Safer tanker has been stranded off Yemen's Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for more than five years, and U.N. officials have warned it could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.
Houthi authorities gave long-awaited approval in November for a visit to assess the tanker. A U.N. team, which includes a private company contracted by the world body to do the work, aims to travel to the tanker early next month.
"We are continuing to prepare for the Safer tanker assessment and are broadly on track with this work," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Friday.
"However we have to look at potential impact of the (U.S. designation) on the Safer mission – there are questions about potential legal jeopardy for the people who are going to do the mission, which of course we all want to avoid," he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move against the Iran-aligned Houthis on Sunday. It will come into effect on Jan. 19, the last full day in office of President Donald Trump's administration.
President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan. 20. The designation could be revoked by Biden's administration.
The Houthis control the area where the tanker is moored and the national oil firm that owns it.
The designation freezes any U.S.-related assets of the Houthis, bans Americans from doing business with them and makes it a crime to provide support or resources to the movement. U.N. officials are worried the designation will scare private-sector companies away from any business related to Yemen.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on U.N. concerns about the tanker mission.
Washington has said it will issue licenses and exemptions to allow the United Nations and aid groups to continue working in Yemen, which the U.N. describes as the world's largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need.
But top U.N. officials have said little is known about possible exemptions and warned that the U.S. move would push Yemen, which relies almost solely on imports, into a large-scale famine and chill peace efforts.
A Saudi Arabia-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis. U.N. officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as the country's suffering is also worsened by an economic crisis, currency collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Paul Simao)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
By Christoph Steitz, Tom Käckenhoff and Arno Schuetze FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp ended talks to sell its steel division to Britain's Liberty Steel due to differences over value, the latest setback in efforts to consolidate the European sector. Liberty Steel, led by commodities tycoon Sanjeev Gupta, last month submitted a firmed-up non-binding bid for Thyssenkrupp's steel unit, Europe's second biggest in terms of sales, which sources said included commitments to protect jobs and sites.
(Reuters) - Reddit trading lingo may filter in to Washington on Thursday when top hedge fund managers, the head of Robinhood and Roaring Kitty himself are set to give testimony before U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers.
By Stephanie Kelly NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices steadied on Thursday, with Brent edging back from a 13-month high, after a sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories supported prices, while buying spurred by a cold snap in the largest U.S. energy-producing state petered out.