Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Security Council imposes arms embargo on Yemeni Houthis

Saudi artillerie firing towards Houthi positions in north Yemen.(Photo Reuters)

The UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo Tuesday on the leaders of Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son.The resolution, approved in a 14-0 vote, is aimed at ending the Houthi military action against supporters of current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia.The resolution also demands that the rebels end their military campaign.
Russia, which had insisted on an arms embargo on all parties to the conflict, abstained.
The resolution imposes the weapons embargo on five men: Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi, Saleh and the former president's eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The council called on all countries, especially Yemen's neighbors, to inspect cargo headed to Yemen if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe it contains weapons.In addition, the council imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on the Houthi leader and Saleh's son. The same sanctions had already been imposed on the other three men last November.The resolution demands that all Yemeni parties,especially the Houthis, end violence and quickly resume UN-brokered negotiations aimed at a political transition.
The council asked UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to intensify efforts to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate foreigners, including establishing "humanitarian pauses" in coordination with the government of Yemen. It called on all parties to facilitate the aid delivery and evacuation of foreigners.
The resolution demands that the Houthis withdraw from areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa, relinquish arms and missiles seized from military and security institutions, and release the defense minister and all political prisoners.
It threatens further sanctions if any Yemeni party fails to implement the provisions of the resolution, as well as a previous one that also demanded an end to hostilities and participation in peace talks.
The Jordanians decided to put the resolution to a vote as Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on Iran, which backs the Houthis, to use its influence to help bring the rebels to the negotiating table.
Egypt’s military has said that it has not deployed ground troops to Yemen as part of the Saudi-led military offensive against Houthi rebels there. The military spokesperson said in a statement on Tuesday that Egypt, which is part of the coalition, had only sent naval and air forces to Yemen.Explaining Egypt's support for the military campaign, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had earlier said that securing the Bab Al-Mandab strait off the Yemen coast was "a top priority for Egypt's national security." However Reuters reports that the Egyptian presidency announced that Egypt and Saudi Arabia had discussed holding a "major military maneuver" in Saudi Arabia with other Gulf states, following talks on the progress of the three-week-old Saudi-led campaign of air strikes against the Houthis in Yemen. 'The Saudi minister of Defence, prince Mohammed bin Salman, on Monday spoke with the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi during a visit to Cairo.

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