UN Security Council draft proposes Yemen measures |
Gulf Times - 06 June, 2012
The UN Security Council will consider imposing sanctions if an Al Qaeda faction and others fail to stop disrupting Yemen’s transition to democracy after the end of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year rule, according to a draft resolution.
The draft text, obtained by Reuters, has been agreed by the permanent five veto-wielding members of the 15-nation council - Britain, the US, France, Russia and China - and is likely to be adopted later this week or next week, council diplomats said.
The council “demands the cessation of all actions aimed at undermining the Government of National Unity and the political transition, including continued attacks on oil, gas and electricity infrastructure, and interference with decisions relating to the restructuring of the armed and security forces.”
If such actions continue, it “expresses its readiness to consider further measures” under Article 41 of the UN charter, which allows the council to impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on countries and people that ignore its decisions.
Saleh was formally replaced in February when Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected under the terms of an agreement crafted by his Gulf neighbors, with US and UN backing, that envisions elections in 2014. The military is to be restructured in the meantime.
But the protests against Saleh and fighting among Yemeni factions have allowed Al Qaeda’s regional wing to seize parts of south Yemen and Shia Muslim Houthi rebels to carve out their own domain in the north.
The council’s draft resolution “expresses its concern over the growing number of attacks carried out or sponsored by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”
A split in the military has also led to fighting among rival units and threatened to tip into civil war in one of the poorest countries in the Arab world.
The council expressed its concern at the political deterioration in a statement in March.
The draft resolution “calls upon all sides in Yemen immediately to reject the use of violence to achieve political goals” and “emphasises the importance of conducting a fully-inclusive, participatory, transparent and meaningful National Dialogue Conference.”
It also stresses that those responsible for human rights violations and abuses must be held accountable and raises concern about children being recruited and used by armed groups and elements of the military.
Houthi rebels who control much of northern Yemen will take part in talks aimed at resolving the country’s multiple political conflicts, a Yemeni official involved in preparing for the negotiations said yesterday.
The Houthi rebels have previously refused to take part in the national dialogue, an element of the transition deal.
Dayfallah al-Shami, a member of the Houthis’ politburo, said the decision to take part did not mean they endorsed the transition plan, which was silent on the north: “Going to the dialogue doesn’t mean accepting the Gulf initiative.”
A member of the committee preparing for the talks, set for August in Cairo, said they will include prominent figures of a secessionist movement in southern Yemen, formerly a separate state whose 1990 union with the north collapsed into civil war four years later.
The official said a Yemeni government delegation would next week meet the former president of south Yemen, Ali Nasser Mohamed, but that another prominent secessionist who also held that post, Ali Salem al-Beidh, was unlikely to take part.
The US accuses Iran of meddling in the south and north of Yemen where the Houthi rebels control Saada province, on the border of Saudi Arabia.
In the southern province of Abyan, Yemeni troops killed at least 23 Islamist militants late on Monday, a military official said, as part of a campaign to retake southern towns that a group called Ansar Al Shariah seized more than a year ago.
The official said the militants tried to infiltrate military positions in the southwestern and northern edges of Zinjibar, the provincial capital, where central government troops and tribal militiamen are fighting the Islamists.
The ministry of defence website said some of the dead militants were foreigners, including one Somali and one Pakistani. One soldier was killed and another injured in the clashes, the ministry said.
Separately, at least 24 people were killed in clashes late on Monday in the north between Sunni Muslim Salafis and Houthis.
A spokesman for the Salafis said Houthi fighters attacked them on Sunday night in the Kataf area of the northern Saada province.
The spokesman, who identified himself as Abu Ismail, said nine of the dead were Salafis and 15 were Houthis.