U.N. top body to vote on Yemen embargo

Diplomats said the resolution may be put to a vote in the 15-member Security Council on Friday

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A United Nations Security Council resolution on Yemen may go to vote on Friday, blacklisting the son of Yemen’s ousted leader and a Houthi commander in addition to imposing an arms embargo on the Shiite militia, Reuters news agency reported.

Council member Jordan and Gulf Arab states finalized their draft text on Thursday. Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the resolution may be put to a vote in the 15-member Security Council on Friday or Saturday, Reuters news agency reported.

It was unclear how Russia would vote. Diplomats said Russia had suggested during negotiations that an arms embargo should also include the Yemen government of President Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi. The Russian U.N. mission declined to comment.

Saudi Arabia launched air strikes against the Iran-allied Houthis in neighboring Yemen on March 26 along with a 10-state coalition. The United States said on Tuesday it is speeding up arms supplies to the coalition.

The draft U.N. resolution would impose a global asset freeze and travel ban on Ahmed Saleh, the former head of Yemen’s elite Republican Guard, and Abdulmalik al-Houthi, a top leader of the Shiite Houthi group.

Saleh’s father, former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and two other senior Houthi leaders, Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, were blacklisted by the Security Council in November. Yemeni soldiers loyal to the former president are fighting alongside the Houthis.

The draft resolution would impose an arms embargo on the five men and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction in Yemen” - effectively the Houthi and soldiers loyal to Saleh.

The resolution also “calls upon Member States, in particular States neighbouring Yemen, to inspect ... all cargo to Yemen” if they have reasonable grounds to believe it contains weapons destined for the poor Arabian peninsula country.

It demands the Houthis stop fighting, withdraw from areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa, agree to resolve their differences through dialogue. It also expresses support for U.N. mediator Jamal Benomar.

Russia on Saturday put forward its own draft resolution demanding “regular and obligatory humanitarian pauses in the air strikes by the coalition” to allow for the evacuation of foreigners. The Jordan and Gulf Arab text calls on all parties to facilitate the evacuation of foreigners.

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