UN OK's Resolution on Yemen Sanctions 02/26 06:05
The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution Tuesday extending targeted
sanctions for war-torn Yemen following contentious negotiations among the
council's member nations.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. Security Council approved a resolution
Tuesday extending targeted sanctions for war-torn Yemen following contentious
negotiations among the council's member nations.
Among the disputes had been whether to refer to U.N. experts' findings that
Yemen's Houthi Shiite rebels are receiving parts for drones and weapons, some
with technical characteristics similar to arms manufactured in Iran.
Britain, which drafted the resolution, and the U.S. and other Western
nations supported the inclusion of the experts' findings, but Russia and China
objected. The much-revised British draft that was put to a vote and approved
13-0 eliminated all references to the Houthis and Iran, but Russia and China
said their demands still were not fully met and abstained.
That appeared to surprise Britain and its Western allies who thought after
last-minute negotiations into the early afternoon that all 15 council members
would vote "yes."
British Ambassador Karen Pierce expressed disappointment, saying, "If
countries are going to engage in negotiations with us in detail and then not
support the text, then that in my mind is sharp practice."
In a broader comment clearly aimed at Russia, she warned against the threat
of a veto becoming "simply a negotiating tactic," stressing the need for
compromise to ensure the Security Council meets its responsibilities to ensure
international peace and security.
France's ambassador, Nicolas de Riviere, said a compromise solution was
found to maintain the unity of the council, and "t is therefore all the more
regrettable that this unity dropped away at the time of the vote."
He said resolutions are "the fruit of compromise" and no member should
expect to get all their demands.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia countered that "our objections to a host
of provisions of the British past draft" were raised during negotiations and a
number were taken into account only on Tuesday.
He said provisions in the text still "go beyond the objectives of this
resolution," and Russia was presented with "a take-it-or-leave-it approach
which does not allow for compromise."
"We cannot agree to that kind of approach," Nebenzia said.
He said the council needs to avoid divisions when the situation in Yemen
requires collective effort to help achieve a cease-fire and start political
negotiations and restore peace. "This could have been agreed to calmly without
drama," Nebenzia said.
Yemen, the Arab world's most impoverished country with a population of 26
million, plunged into war in 2014 after the Iranian-backed Houthis took over
the capital of Sanaa. The internationally recognized government fled and sought
support from neighboring Gulf countries.
In March 2015, a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed military coalition began what has
turned into a devastating war that has killed more than 10,000 people,
displaced 2 million and created the world's worst humanitarian disaster.
The resolution expresses concern at "violence and enforced disappearances,
and threats arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and
misuse of weapons." It reiterates the need for dialogue and reaffirms "the need
for the full and timely implementation of the political transition" following a
The panel of experts said in a recent report that the main smuggling route
for both commercially available drone parts and weapons "seems to run overland
from Oman and the southern coast of Yemen, through territory controlled by the
government of Yemen, towards Sanaa," which is controlled by the Houthis.
No mention is made of that in the resolution, which also doesn't refer to
the experts' finding that some parts for the drones and weapons are similar to
those manufactured in Iran.
The resolution does ask the U.N. panel to report on "commercially available
components which have been used by individuals and entities" on the U.N.
sanction blacklist "to assemble unmanned aerial vehicles, water-borne
improvised explosive devices, and other weapons systems."
Rodney Hunter, political coordinator for the U.S. Mission, expressed hope
that "this information will help member states and private companies exercise
greater vigilance over the transfer of these items to Yemen."
The experts said the parts and weapons potentially violate a U.N. arms
embargo. The resolution calls on all countries "and other actors to comply with
the targeted arms embargo."
In one reference to the Houthis, the council expresses "serious concern at
the devastating humanitarian situation in Yemen and all instances of undue
hindrances to the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance, including the
recent interference in aid operations in Houthi-controlled areas as well as
obstacles and the undue limitations on the delivery of vital goods to the
civilian population occurring throughout Yemen."
The only other reference in the resolution calls for access "without delay"
for the U.N. to inspect and maintain the oil tanker Safer, which is moored off
Yemen's main port of Hodeida in the Houthi-controlled north and poses
Hunter said this first mention of the Safer by the council in a resolution
"reflects the international community's deep concern about the chance that this
tanker could rupture, causing an environmental disaster in the Red Sea." He
accused the Houthis for not providing the U.N. with access to the vessel.
The resolution extends the targeted sanctions until Feb. 26, 2021, and the
mandate of the U.N. experts until March 28, 2021.