Gulf States Seek U.N. Sanctions on Yemen Rebel Chief, Ex-Leader's Son

Gulf countries are making a push for U.N. sanctions to be imposed on the leader of Yemen's Huthi rebels and the ex-president's son, according to a draft resolution that could come up for a vote this week.

Jordan circulated the draft resolution prepared by Gulf states to the Security Council late Monday as Russia stepped up its criticism of the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen.

The draft resolution, obtained by Agence France Presse, demands that the Shiite Huthis withdraw from Sanaa and all other areas seized since 2013 and slaps an arms embargo on the Huthi leaders and their allies.

But the seven-page text makes no reference to the Saudi-led military strikes and to Russian calls for humanitarian pauses in the fighting that has left more than 540 dead in nearly three weeks.

The resolution asks the 15-member council to add Huthi leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son, Ahmed, to 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.

Diplomats said the draft resolution could come up for a vote this week, although it remained uncertain if Russia would support the measure.


- Russia bristles - 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he was "dismayed, to put it mildly" by the military campaign being waged by the Saudi-led nine-country coalition, which is seeking to push back the Iranian-backed Huthis.

"We value our relations with Saudi Arabia, and with other coalition members, but they came to the Security Council post-factum, and started asking for approval of what they had begun," Lavrov said on Monday.

"It would be impossible for us to approve of one side in the conflict, and to practically declare the other side outlaws," he said.

Saudi Arabia has argued that it does not need a U.N. mandate to carry out the military campaign because it acted at the request of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is considered the legitimate head of state by the United Nations.

The draft resolution before the Security Council comes amid mounting international alarm over the civilian toll from the air campaign and reports from aid agencies that they are unable to reach those in need.

Russia called an emergency Security Council meeting over the weekend to push for humanitarian pauses to evacuate foreigners and to demand humanitarian access.

Russian diplomats held several rounds of negotiations at the United Nations with their Gulf counterparts on the text drafted under chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, which means it can be enforced by military action and sanctions.

The draft resolution "reaffirms the need for all parties to ensure the safety of civilians" and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid as well as evacuations.

Source: Agence France Presse

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