UN and Yemen rebels agree to transfer oil from Yemen tanker

United Nations: The United Nations and Yemen's Houthi rebels have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at resolving the environmental threat posed by a tanker carrying more than 1 million barrels of crude oil that has been moored off the coast of the war-torn Arab nation since the 1980s, the UN said Monday.

The FSO Safer tanker's long-term presence in the Red Sea has raised fears of a massive oil spill or explosion that could cause an environmental catastrophe.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN mission in Yemen confirmed that the risk of imminent catastrophe is very real indeed, as we have been saying here for quite some time.

Under the MOU, a short-term solution would transfer the oil from the Safer to another ship, along with a longer-term solution, he said.

But the MOU, dated March 5, makes clear the proposal's implementation is contingent on mobilizing donor funds.

Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when Iranian-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital and much of the country's north, forcing the government to flee to the south, then to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States and the United Arab Emirates, to try to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power.

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