UN council to vote on draft resolution to punish Yemen's Huthis
UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoThe UN Security Council will vote on April 14 on a draft resolution that demands Yemen's Huthi rebels pull back and punishes them with an arms embargo and sanctions, diplomats said.
The measure put forward by Jordan and Gulf countries could be blocked by veto-wielding Russia which has friendly relations with Iran, the Huthis' ally.
The draft resolution would be the first formal measure to come up for a vote in the Security Council since a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign on Yemen on March 26.
The text, obtained by AFP, demands that the Shiite Huthis withdraw from Sanaa and all other areas seized, and end their violent campaign.
Changes to the draft resolution were agreed on April 13 after weeks of negotiations to add a request for humanitarian pauses, as demanded by Russia, and an appeal to "all parties" to end the violence.
The measure would place Huthi leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son, Ahmed, on a sanctions list, imposing a global travel ban and an assets freeze on the two men.
The council imposed targeted sanctions in November on the former president and two Huthi military commanders, Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, to punish the Huthis for seizing Sanaa two months earlier.
The draft resolution provides for an embargo on the sale of arms to the Huthi leaders targeted by sanctions and their allies.
It calls on UN member-states, in particular those in the region, to inspect all cargo en route to Yemen that is suspected of carrying weapons.
During weeks of negotiations, Russia had argued that the arms embargo should apply to all sides in the conflict, and not only the Huthis.
The vote at the Security Council comes amid mounting alarm over the civilian toll from the air campaign and reports from aid agencies that they are unable to reach those in need.
Saudi Arabia launched the air strikes at the request of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is considered the legitimate head of state by the United Nations.
Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia as the Huthis marched on Aden, the southern city that had become his stronghold after he fled Sanaa.
The exiled president wrote in an editorial on April 13 that the conflict in Yemen was being driven by "Iran's hunger for power."
Iran has denied that it is arming the rebels and the Islamic republic's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has condemned the coalition air strikes as "criminal acts".
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on April 12 pleaded for a return to peace talks, saying these would prevent "a long, drawn out conflict."
More than 600 people have died and 2,000 were injured in the fighting that UN officials have said is pushing the country to the brink of collapse.
The Security Council vote is scheduled for 1500 GMT.