Saudi forces battle Houthi rebels in Yemen
Saudi forces battle Houthi rebels in Yemen Reuters

Britain will present a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council demanding an immediate ceasefire in Yemen following a deadly air strike on a funeral ceremony, the British ambassador said Friday, according to AFP.

"We have decided to put forward a draft Security Council resolution on Yemen calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political process," British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.

The draft text which will also press for access for humanitarian aid is expected to be circulated to the council's 15 members in the coming days, diplomats said.

The decision to seek a formal resolution came after Russia blocked a statement drafted by Britain that condemned the air strike, apparently carried out by the Saudi-led coalition, that killed more than 140 mourners.

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said the statement was "wishy-washy," and called for "some very serious thinking" on how to address the deteriorating situation in Yemen.

Yemen slid into chaos when the coalition launched an air campaign in March 2015 to push back the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who seized territory including the capital Sanaa.

It is believed Iran is planning to use the Houthis to take over Yemen and seize the key strategic port of Aden, which controls the entrance to the Red Sea and ultimately to the Israeli resort city of Eilat, though Tehran denies the charges.

In at least one case, Middle East and Russian sources confirmed that an Iranian ship unloaded 185 tons of weapons at Yemen's Port Saleef to the Houthis.

But Iran has repeatedly rejected as “propaganda” claims that it was supplying weapons to the Houthis.

Russia, which has friendly relations with Iran, has criticized Western backing for the coalition and pointed to the carnage in Yemen in response to criticism of Moscow's campaign in Syria.

A US warship in the Red Sea was targeted by a missile fired from territory held by the Houthi rebels after the attack on the funeral ceremony. The Houthis have denied any involvement.

The United States, which has said it will review its support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, has launched cruise missiles at Houthi sites in retaliation.

More than 6,700 people -- most of them civilians -- have been killed in Yemen since the coalition first intervened, according to the United Nations.

Several UN-brokered attempts to stop the fighting and reach a peace agreement between the Yemeni government and the rebels have failed.

AFP contributed to this report.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)