Dutch drop bid for UN fact-finding mission in Yemen in face of Saudi proposal at rights body

Dutch diplomats have dropped their attempt at the top U.N. human rights body to launch a fact-finding mission in war-torn Yemen, clearing the way for a rival initiative led by Saudi Arabia — a major protagonist in the conflict.

Two days before the end of the Human Rights Council session, the Netherlands on Wednesday withdrew a proposal that sought deployment of a mission under the U.N. human rights chief to report on possible conflict-related crimes in Yemen.

The less-ambitious Saudi alternative wants the U.N. rights chief to provide "technical assistance" to Yemen's government and provide an oral report to the council on Yemen's human rights situation. A Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition is fighting Shiite and other militias.

The U.N. estimates at least 2,355 civilians have died since fighting escalated in March.