tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 200 Al Jazeera July 18, 2020 8:32pm-9:01pm +03
european leaders the negotiating for 2nd day after 14 hours of talks on friday failed to find a breakthrough the u.n. secretary general's delivered a stinging critique on inequality in the world during a speech marking nelson mandela international day and tonio terrorists as the world is at breaking point and the coronavirus pandemic is only exposed the deep divisions existing in our societies and us president donald trump's ordered flags over public buildings including the white house to be flown at half staff to honor the congressman and civil rights icon john lewis who died at the age of 18 he was a pioneer of the civil rights movement and was part of the inner circle of dr martin luther king back in the 1960 s. . you're up to date with the headlines we've got a few in 25 minutes time coming up next the latest edition of inside story.
already embroiled in a war for years 'd in yemen faces an unprecedented environmental disaster a damaged oil storage facility is not really threatening in the red sea who is to blame and can catastrophe be averted before it's too late this is inside story. hello there and welcome to the program i'm laura kyle years of civil war have torn yemen apart the fighting has divided the cities destroyed the economy and triggered the world's worst humanitarian crisis now the country is also on the verge of an
environmental disaster for 5 years the fleecing storage facilities has lain idle off the coast on border more than 1100000 barrels of oil as yemen's who feel rebels battle with the saudi backed government for control of the country the facility has been left to rust united nations has described it as a ticking time bomb one that will eventually cause an ecological and humanitarian disaster if nothing is done but doing something is proving difficult but who fees who control the area where the facility is permanently mord have only recently allowed access to the u.n. they've given promises before that they've since gone back on. the un's top relief official mark local says the who things have engaged in a protracted bureaucratic minuet of permissions to visit being sought apparently being granted and then turning out in fact not to have been granted he says there who feel thirty's have an important opportunity here to take steps that will spare
millions of their fellow citizens from yet another tragedy. so how much of a tragedy are we talking about well with more than 48000000 gallons of oil on board a breach in the ship has the potential to cause a spill 4 times the size of the 989 exxon valdez disaster in alaska it would affect 1600000 yemenis who depend on the red sea for food and trade the majority of them already rely on humanitarian aid in terms of ecology $1200.00 species of fish would be endangered by a spill 10 percent of which exists nowhere else in the world and $115.00 islands could lose their biodiversity as well as the use of their ports thank. you let's bring in our guests now to discuss this further and from washington d.c. we have william lawrence professor of political science and international affairs at the american university he's a former u.s. diplomat in the state department's ocean and environment bureau from sana in yemen
hussein albert k.t. a pro who 3 journalist and from beirut we have seen the executive director of greenpeace middle east north africa region thank you all very much for joining us hussein they've been warnings about this ship for years why have the who's these knots let the u.n. on board to assess it. actually the one who doesn't let. maintenance teams of the ship know to maintain the ship in a good condition is this how the coalition since the war against him and they have forced. on yemen. they didn't allow the men to the mental in teams that have been working on the ship some of them. eighties to reach their ship to keep keepin it like in good condition and as well in 2016 so didn't allow a fuel in ship called the rama with more than 30 with with diesel shipment air to
reach the ships to the ship can stay running that's why i think the old blame it is toward saudi arabia but the main problem now because there is a system in the ship called. god system they should be running all the time the have to make sure that the bible is for them the oil which is a little carbone doesn't build up and mix with this is really a mobile and that's why i think now is very very dangerous to extract any oil from this ship it have to go under maintenance which will cost more than $10000000.00 but the united states and. i'm going to jump in just like i said i know why this is why the ship is in this condition and we will get back to to to bring up this point again but i just want to clarify this point as to why the un has not been allowed to assess the situation which has been asking to do for years. look they united the
united nations are not allowing the maintenance of the ship to go there the united nation has a choose chosen an asian company i don't i think from a malaysia to check this ship and this company has no. experience in checking ships in so dangerous condition so you. and i we have a situation is that why the why the that why you've not been granting permission yes this exactly because here is an hour they have requested when they need i did nation to bring i think that is known like a company that can own. the whole console so. dangerous situation ok so the movies have recently granted the u.n. permission they're hoping to get on board in the next couple of weeks will that go ahead. yes of course if they have been granted this access to the ship they will go ahead to the access they said but they if there is an agreement they have signed it
was sign are that then they needed nations should stick to this agreement look i believe that the united nations i actually they will try to find any any excuse not to check the ship ok william what do you think of that the united nations is not actually interested in checking the ship some sort of conspiracy it seems hussein is suggesting going on here. no the u.n. is seized with this issue and no more so than the last week u.n. is frustrated because as you and your guests noted there are several times where the u.n. has been granted position and then under it position often on technical issues such as the one that was just mentioned about the dissatisfaction with the company that was being used and there's been other types of blockages as well i think it's worth noting that this location is right on the front lines of the front of the insulin that's controlled by both sides in the conflict and there definitely will so many
and the forces so it back to the forces right there that can prevent the other side from approaching back to point that yes maybe yes maybe represent some other belligerent want to approach the ship but was afraid that it would 'd be they've been pushed back by the evil forces and so this is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen but problem now solutions are political diplomatic the pressure at the u.n. is ramping up this week because of the leakage of water into one of the storms which makes the situation more dire they know this potential for an oil spill is projected to be 4 times the size of exxon valdez disaster back in 1989 can you give us a sense of what that means basically an environmental disaster on the larger scale you could think off that at sea is
a closely so and in oil span of that scale well take not trust lots of dollars to be fixed but as well many many many years and the impact is is more than an environmental impact you will have a humanitarian impact affecting mostly unfortunately the yemeni people right because i misspoke. in that area will affect the marine environment the fisherman life the fish that the yemeni people are relying on as their source of food in the current conflict that is driving humanitarian disaster so we are looking and impact on the entire what i've seen on the coast of many countries not just yemen so that's why you know we are all of us as an environmentalist raising that and a lot of on this because we cannot just wait for it to happen we need to do effort
to prevent this disaster from even being considered because depending on when the disaster happened and the current currents and the sea impact can reach all the way to the subways konar or even the state of her so the impact is really massive and not just yemen will be impacted and not just the yemeni people so that's why we are raising all this and for us it's so important that we can we start acting fast and we prioritize this issue because it's been ongoing for too long and there is a threat that the ship can explode because. as hosain said the system the boiler system had stopped producing inert gas that is protecting the oil and the cargo thanks and if that basically continue as it is and we are now in a summer season you know the potential for blowing and fires are much much higher
so you know this is really a risk that we should really not just sit and wait for it to happen who's saying given that this is such an enormous disaster waiting to happen and that it is potentially imminent is it not time to put aside politics and allow any u.n. team to get on board assess the damage and assess what needs to be done next. yeah i totally agree with you but as you're a guest have said now about the ship and they got has been built where it could the ship could explode that's why here in sanaa they have requested united nations to bring. will known team because they do want if anything will happen to their ship if they bring anyone who has no experience and something bad will have been there and the ship will explode i'm sure that the united nations straightaway will directly blame and blame the hoti just i want to. ask your
guest about what i said about the united nation is a conspiracy is a kind of conspiracy about the united nations it is not and i can prove it in one sentence we remember that the united nations have removed from shameless for killing children because it was what they say of the saudi would try to cut to cut the funds so so you could do the same with the united nations they could just. tell them that they can united the united nation can't just keep blaming the holy but the main point is for the last 5 years 6 years since the war started no one has to have the chance to go to that she even said that he meant instead of the blame goes to. the coalition and saudi backed forces just don't add if you let me to fall to distract the oil you need they should have to go through maintenance that will cost $12000000.00 so what the united nation is asking for are 2 babies 12000000 but when they going to sell this this all will get all the money going to
go to how the government and we know that all oil. company and feels is in the hands of the saudi backed forces that's why there are the lot of sponsible to pay for this on the on the one of the sponsible ok money let me tell you when russians . helis the announcements and the salvage operation and also the oil revenue both issues i will come back to you in just a moment i want to just pick up on one point that you mentioned before about blame if nobody gets on board and there is either an oil spill or an explosion who say this will be on the hoof is watch the who will be blamed they will lose any claim to legitimacy. i mean i know because you know most of the international media and the united nation there are. by saudi. point the whole thing is a little money so you control permission to get access to the ship no is this how the as well knows not to allow in ok here is that you're not allowed to 5
already. and you know how when these are ok is access to the ship granted by both who feeds and saudis in this scenario william. simplest way to put a very complicated situation is both sides are on paper allowing international access and bull sides have forces that can prevent international access to conditions are such that they want it's to happen this will pay for it issues very critical and a major part of the thinking on that side because you have what used to be $80000000.00 perhaps now $40000000000.00 worth of oil again the proceeds of which they wouldn't see and so as we've been seeing in the recent days and weeks that the whole situation's being politicized but it's also being monetized people look at who wins economically from all of this i think. we've been calling it it is strange
but it really is the it's an auction for storage and offloading facility that represents yemen's largest oil company the pipeline it goes through there and the like the end of the economy and it's all sitting right there on the coast so there's not only the issue of this disaster and welcome to ship possible the earnings lucian but also the larger question of who controls the oil the oil well who's responsible and who gets the benefit and all of these things are in play which is why your line of question is so important because we have to deal with the short term environmental catastrophe in the making while at the scene i am looking at all of these larger 'd issues so if we look at the quality of the oil and the revenue that one policy or other might get from it is that really at this stage in time such a big issue because there's been suggestions that the quality of the i would have dropped so much that it's not even going to come of the costs of its extraction.
well certainly the price crashes made the value less important but even if it's worth as as i got my sources say close to 40000000 down from 80000000 and you have a 12 new dock cost as your guest so that's a significant trade up there but i don't think it's really about the money itself it's also about the responsibility of the payments and also who gets the revenues and who gets the future revenues let me also just add you talked about the quality of the oil it's a tip but it's a type of oil called light which is very light weight oil which itself is problematic it's a sweet oil that has very high value when the prices of oil is up but also if we have an environmental catastrophe because it's too late some of it will evaporate very quickly but the rest of it will spread very quickly across the ocean surface and have a much more devastating where i'm alone and that they're not have your oil in the
who are not are more easily 'd 'd so that so i know you were asking about this but it's important to know that the quality of the world itself has an impact on the states we're looking at we're looking at one of the biggest environments on the task is our lifetime if it comes to snow it's a hugely important point and it's one that i want to stick with for a moment they know a clean up operation you mentioned before and as william is saying the oil is a light oil that can stretch for many many miles and weeks and even the so is canal you said before i mean how much that's trying to put a figure on that for the moment how much would a cleanup operation likely cost. it's really a very hard to give a figure but we are talking about millions of dollars if and or more than the value that we're talking about for for the oil i mean for us as well it's just not the cleanup effort you would have to have to deal with the life of the fishermen that are going to be massively affected and
a very important impact that we need to be aware of if actually had the oil do spread north of that in the direct sea is that along that sea of there are a lot of these silent nation plant that basically extract water for an area that is dying and suffering from a lot of shortages of water and therefore you are even spreading the impact for this community as whether it's under saudi side or on the african side to have access to water for a bit of daily life and that or consumption so you know it's really the cost going to be you mongers for many many many years and it's really not worth it to even consider going into a blame game as a force to really get what had around a negotiation table and give a mandate for the international community because clearly this is reached
a point of the ship has reached a point of decaying that you do need special expertise to deal with the expertise that is not available in yemen right so the international community and your weapon has a duty of care here to interfere and put all the resources near the and both parties of the conflict has a duty as well to basically facilitate access to human people to the sources to equipment to contend us before it actually blow up in our faces hussein either who thiis have a duty here what's your response to that. yes of course i mean everyone has a duty but we only hear in all the media and the united nations and the only head of the whole they don't even say this or we. haven't a civil civil i want just i just want to point. out. the
data port we've not even mentioned that this is a crucial lifeline for 2 thirds of the population if there was an oil spill that would close could you give us an idea of the impact that would have. i mean the impact i can just. quote mr. secretary of the united states when he said that millions of lives will be. damage especially. ports in yemen would it will be effected but what's funny about this statement actually is just that he ignored all. the polls that has been closed on her data port for the last 2 months there isn't a single ship of fuel in ship old food chipotle because it has entered the port because of the saudi locate and i'm sure that i'm sure that if the if this oil spill will have been it will devastate millions of life that's why i can assure you that sun is ready if the united nation one will bring i hope that it will bring you
good team to fix the ship and as well if they use the 40000000 or 80000000 that will come from the oil to to fix this ship i'm sure the sun i will will accept that but they have to be. clear about that because we don't want any under the agreement under the table from the united nations just one last point to please. say that the united nations actually if there is any oil spill in yemen they are they will benefit from that because the whole disaster has been in yemen the more money they can collect i don't have a 5 hour if i have the you. take issue with that last statement especially but let's move on to william this is an international issue the scale of the past will stretch across many different countries. where is the international community on this where is the neighboring countries where is the. african union where is the e.u. where is the u.s. why is everyone not speaking out about this and trying to get access to the ship.
well there's many reasons but i think that the simple way to say it is everyone's been asleep or everyone's been distracted by all of the other issues that they're confronting and this is one that you can put on the back burner because it's not exploding today and it's not massively leaky today although we have at the king or from the ship let me also just add to what you said that the cleanup would not be millions if we believe and the cost of that cleanup would go to the international community to the senate government clearly and that i know the people of the issues at work that they are not hoping for any disasters in. the fall. people and also very importantly they have access to the world's best experts in this area now it's a militarized zone so it would have to provide safe passage for both navies both the military forces to get there but you can easily absolution team
a place on the team the type of expertise that the son i go from it is looking for and adding to what both of your guests so that the situation's very precarious on the ship part of the ship has broken off luckily that was so she did with the still and there's been other deteriorations on the ship that make it that the team has to have an extra high level of expertise that has to do with basically disaster setting not just an analytical setting to handle not only the associate but the technical operations to make the oil cargo that slows and it's just getting harder and harder to manage just as time goes on cena do you think this is a crisis that will be of us said. i'm an optimist and i'm hoping for that to be honest. i cannot event or if an imagined what would be if we have it. totally hoping that the international community is
going to put her feet on the ground and basically say this need to be prevented. last week a few days ago there was a discussion in the security council it's not the 1st time sadly but yeah we're hoping that basically what you just mentioned the european union the african union the neighboring countries as i said the impact on the marine life will affect all. so therefore you know they need they have a vested interest to put this as their top priority and act and basically give a very clear demand they can so that in the as a conflict area with a lot of. you know condition that cannot be dealt by anybody give them and they have to do you when to basically be leading on this secured that basically things are done right and things are done as well in a way that you know avoid for further conflict ok well let's certainly hope to see
a u.n. team on board that ship as soon as possible many thanks for all our guests for joining us today william lawrence hussein albert haiti and as they know. and many thanks to you too for what you can see this program again any time by visiting a website that's al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion do go to our facebook page at facebook dot com for slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter $100.00 at a j inside story from me laura kyle and the whole team here if i found out.
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