UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's powerful deputy crown prince requested a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after the United Nations infuriated Riyadh by briefly blacklisting a Saudi-led coalition for killing children in Yemen, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday.
Mohammed bin Salman is expected to be in New York next week for meetings with business leaders after a visit to the U.S. West Coast and has requested a meeting towards the end of the week, U.N. officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
"An official request has come to the office of the secretary-general for a meeting with the deputy crown prince and as soon as we're able to confirm something we shall," U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
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He added that the U.N. had not yet responded to a June 8 letter to Ban from Saudi U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi on behalf of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen asking the United Nations to reveal details on the sources of information for its report on violations of child rights during armed conflicts.
Dujarric said this week the United Nations would not disclose those sources.
The U.N. report on children and armed conflict said the coalition, which began an air campaign in March 2015 to defeat Iran-allied Houthi rebels, was responsible for 60 percent of child deaths and injuries in the conflict last year, killing 510 and wounding 667.
Riyadh, a major U.N. donor, had threatened to cut off funding to a Palestinian aid program and other U.N. initiatives. Saudi Arabia denied using threats, although Ban himself confirmed the initial Reuters report.
The coalition's removal from the blacklist prompted angry reactions from human rights groups including Human Right Watch, Amnesty International and Oxfam, which accused Ban of caving to pressure from powerful countries. They said that Ban, in the final year of his second term, risked harming his legacy as U.N. chief.
The Saudi-led coalition includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Senegal and Sudan.
(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau and Michelle Nichols; Editing by James Dalgleish)