U.N. Security Council extends Yemen sanctions

The U.N. Security Council expressed concern at the current violence in Yemen

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The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Tuesday to extend sanctions on Yemen's former president and two leaders of the powerful Shiite Houthi rebels whose takeover of the capital and much of northern Yemen threatens to split the Arab world's poorest country.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former president who was forced from power after Yemen's 2011 Arab Spring revolt, is believed to be allied with the Houthis.

His successor, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, quit the presidency after the rebels placed him under house arrest last month. He retracted the resignation after fleeing to Aden in the once-independent south, where he appears to be establishing a base. The Houthis said Tuesday that Hadi is "wanted for justice."

The Security Council reiterated that it is prepared to impose additional sanctions on those endangering the country's peace, security and stability, and reaffirmed "its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen."

The resolution adopted by the U.N.'s most powerful body expressed concern at the current violence and wide-ranging challenges in Yemen and renewed the sanctions regime it authorized a year ago until Feb. 26, 2016. It also extended the mandate of the panel of experts monitoring their implementation until March 25, 2016.

In November, the council ordered a freeze of all assets and a global travel ban on Saleh as well as on the Houthis military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim.

The resolution adopted Tuesday means those sanctions will remain in place for another year, though it leaves open the possibility of their modification, suspension or lifting "in light of developments."

The Houthis swept into the capital Sanaa last September after battling their way from their northern Shiite heartland and imposing control over at least nine provinces. They have disbanded the parliament and empowered their security arm, known as the Revolutionary Committee, to act as the country's top decision-makers.

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