U.N. authorizes curbs against Yemen regime

The resolution hits out at offenders with a travel ban and an asset freeze

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The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that authorizes sanctions against figures seeking to undermine Yemen’s political transition.

The British-drafted resolution hits out at offenders with a travel ban and an asset freeze “for an initial period of one year.”

Yemen is grappling with an increasingly violent separatist movement in the south, which was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and a 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 draft resolution refrains from listing any specific individuals or entities. Instead, it seeks to establish a committee to make such decisions.

Western diplomats say Saleh and former Vice President Ali Salim al-Beidh are top candidates for the U.N. blacklist.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant welcomed the adoption of the resolution and told the council that it contained several clear messages, including that the world was determined to support the Yemeni people and their government as they strive to stabilize the country.

But it also contains clear warnings, he said.

“Those wishing to derail the political transition will face swift and firm consequences through the new sanctions committee,” Lyall Grant said. “The resolution is clear, and I quote, ‘the transition process requires turning the page from the presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh’.”

The United Nations’ special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, expressed his satisfaction with the decision.

“I am pleased that today the council took decisive action,” he told reporters after the vote, adding that there was a “systematic pattern of obstruction” and “serious security challenges” in the country.

The former British colony is home to one of the deadliest branches of al-Qaeda and shares a long border with the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia.

Instability in Yemen is of international concern. Saleh’s continuing influence in the country worries its Gulf neighbors and Western nations fearful that the transition could descend into chaos.

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