U.N. Calls for 'Credible' Investigation of Yemen Bus Attack
The U.N. Security Council called Friday for a credible and transparent investigation into the death of at least 29 children in a Saudi-led coalition attack on a bus in Yemen.
British Ambassador Karen Pierce, who holds the council presidency, told reporters following a closed-door meeting on Yemen that "if any investigation that is held is not credible, the council will obviously want to review that."
The Saudi-led coalition earlier announced that it had ordered an investigation into the air strike on Thursday that also wounded at least 48 others in the northern rebel stronghold of Saada.
The council did not order a separate investigation but "will now consult with the U.N. and others as to how the investigation can best be taken forward," said Pierce.
The council met at the request of five countries: Bolivia, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, and Sweden, which are all non-permanent council members.
Kuwait, also a non-permanent council member, is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Huthi rebels in Yemen.
The United States, France and Britain -- three of the five permanent council members -- have supported the Saudi coalition in its military campaign, but have expressed concern over the heavy toll on civilians.
Ahead of the meeting, the Netherlands had stressed that the investigation must be independent, suggesting that the coalition's decision to open up a probe was insufficient.
"We have seen the images of children who died," Dutch Deputy Ambassador Lise Gregoire-van Haaren told reporters. "What is essential at this moment in time is to have a credible and independent investigation."
The council did not specify in the agreed statement to the press that the investigation should be independent -- a demand that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also made in a statement condemning the attack on Thursday.
Council members expressed their "great concern" and "called for a credible and transparent investigation," Pierce said.
Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a military campaign to restore the internationally recognized government to power and push back the Huthis, who still hold the capital Sanaa.
The war has left nearly 10,000 people dead and unleashed what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Huthi health minister Taha al-Mutawakel on Friday put the death toll at 51 people, including 40 children, while warning the number of victims could rise further.