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UN deplores Houthi takeover in Yemen

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The UN Security Council passed a resolution Sunday “deploring” the Houthi rebel group’s actions in Yemen and demanding the cessation of violence and active participation of all parties in UN-backed negotiations.

The council, which met Sunday for an emergency session to pass the resolution, took action on the situation in Yemen after the Houthis dissolved the parliament and instituted an interim constitution less than two weeks ago.

In the resolution, the 15-member council said it “strongly deplores” the Houthis’ actions including violence. It calls on the group to immediately withdraw their forces from government institutions and release President

Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and other officials from house arrest.
The resolution also demands that Houthis unconditionally “engage in good faith in the UN-brokered negotiations” and refrain from action that could further undermine the security and political stability of the country.

“The Security Council urges all parties, in particular the Houthis, to accelerate inclusive UN-brokered negotiations, to continue the political transition in order to reach a consensus solution,” the resolution said.

The council also expressed concern over the possible resurgence of al-Qaeda in the region due to the political instability. Jordan, which sponsored the resolution along with Britain, warned that the events in Yemen had created “a massive political and security vacuum.”

“We are concerned that the continuation of this situation without the international community and the Security Council engagement will lead to an ominous outcome, not only on the local level in Yemen but in the entire region,” it said.

US Ambassador Samantha Power called for a peaceful resolution through consensus to the situation in Yemen. The US cooperates with Yemen on counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, but closed its embassy there this month in response to the unrest.

“The people of Yemen deserve a clear path back to the political transition process and a legitimate government based on these agreements and the resolutions of this Council, with a publicly-announced timeline and specific dates for the completion of a new constitution, a constitutional referendum, and national elections,” she said.

The resolution comes after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned the council at a briefing on Thursday of the worsening situation, saying that “Yemen is collapsing before our eyes.”

The takeover by the mainly Shiite Houthis triggered mass protests in several areas of Yemen, mainly by the country’s majority Sunnis.
It has also sparked international fears that the country, a stronghold of an active al-Qaeda offshoot, could slide into full-blown sectarian conflict and has prompted several Western nations to shut their embassies in the country.

Last month, internationally recognized President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and his government resigned after the Houthis overran the presidential palace in Sana’a. Yemen, one of the Arab world’s poorest countries, also faces a secessionist movement in the south. SAPA

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