Yemeni security forces stand guard in the capital Sanaa, on February 23, 2014 as authorities tighten security measures
Yemeni security forces stand guard in the capital Sanaa, on February 23, 2014 as authorities tighten security measures © Mohammed Huwais - AFP/File
Yemeni security forces stand guard in the capital Sanaa, on February 23, 2014 as authorities tighten security measures
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AFP
Last updated: February 26, 2014

UN backs sanctions for obstructors of Yemen transition

The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously backed sanctions against supporters of the former regime in Yemen who try to impede its political transition.

The wording of the measure "calls upon all Yemenis to fully respect the implementation of the political transition," and targets any person or entity who would "threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen."

Mark Lyall Grant, UN ambassador representing Britain, which sponsored the resolution with strong backing from France and the United States, said it is needed to complete the process of "turning the page from the presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh."

"The international community continues to focus on Yemen and wants to support the Yemeni people towards a more stable and prosperous future," the British diplomat said.

Saleh stepped down as Yemen's president in February 2012 after a year of popular protests.

Since his departure, the country has been in the grip of deadly unrest, often fomented by recalcitrant backers of his regime.

The resolution states that sanctions will be aimed at those found to be "obstructing or undermining the successful completion of the political transition" in Yemen.

The measure will create a three-member panel, under the aegis of the Security Council, to oversee the imposition of sanctions, including decisions on who would be targeted.

"Those wishing to derail the political transition will face swift and firm consequences through the new sanctions committee," said Lyall Grant, who praised the international cooperation that made a united vote possible.

"When this Council works together, and delivers tough messages, it can create the catalyst for change," he said.

The measure states that its targets include include anyone committing "attacks on essential infrastructure or acts of terrorism" as well as those who violate human rights and international humanitarian law.

It is to remain in force for an initial period of one year.

Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, is grappling with an increasingly violent separatist movement in the south, which was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and union with the north in 1990.

Some countries had wanted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, often blamed for the unrest, named in the document, but the resolution refrains from listing any specific individuals or entities.

The vote follows a national conference in Yemen last year which brought together representatives of different political families -- excluding southern secessionists -- and laid the foundations for a six-state federation.

Under the plan the area of former South Yemen would be divided into two regions, while the north would be divided into four regions.

Overseen by the UN and the Gulf states, the conference was one of the keystones that permitted President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to succeed Saleh in 2013, after a year of popular protests.

Hadi has promised to prepare a new constitution and to transition the country into a federal state. But southerners have strongly opposed the push for federalism.

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