Sana’a, New York and London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to impose sanctions on individuals judged to be obstructing Yemen’s political transition.
Security Council Resolution 2140 grants authority to freeze assets and impose travel bans on individuals for the period of one year, and will be monitored by an independent committee of the Security Council.
The resolution did not identify those who are an “obstruction to the transitional peace process,” a compromise which allowed the resolution to be adopted following a month of arguments about the Yemeni parties that could be affected by the resolution and its repercussions on Yemen’s political system, which remains fragile.
Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh was accused of obstruction in a previous declaration by the Security Council in February 2013, but is not named in Wednesday’s resolution on sanctions.
The resolution did not target any specific figure, but emphasized the “critical need to turn the page on the presidency of former President Saleh,” and called for a “cessation of all actions meant to disrupt the political transition in Yemen.”
The UN Secretary-General’s special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, accused associates of Saleh of attempting to obstruct Yemen’s political transition process last November.
As well as Saleh, former Vice-president Ali Salim Al-Beidh is also a possible target of sanctions, Western diplomatic sources told Reuters.
The new committee overseeing the implementation of sanctions will be supported by four UN experts. The committee has a mandate to sanction “those who stand as an obstacle to, or jeopardize the total implementation of the political transitional process,” in Yemen, as well as those who “launch attacks on the infrastructure or launch terrorist attacks” and those who “violate human rights and international humanitarian laws.”
The Security Council said it “welcomed the recent progress achieved in the political transitional process in Yemen and expressed its strong support for the continuation of the transitional process.”
The Security Council also expressed concern for the “dangerous violations of human rights” being committed in both the Northern and Southern regions of the country. It called on donor countries to continue providing humanitarian aid to Yemen and condemned the attacks by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its affiliated groups.
The British ambassador to the UN, Sir Mark Lyall-Grant, said the fact that the resolution won the unanimous support of the 15 members of the Security Council “sent a clear message that those who plan to cause the failure of the transitional process will face serious consequences.”
Yemen’s former ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh, was replaced by Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in February 2012 following mass protests in Yemen, and following an agreement sponsored by the UN and the GCC which stipulated a transitional period of two years.
That agreement also stipulated a National Dialogue Conference be held. The recommendations of the national dialogue included the adoption of a new federal system dividing the country into six regions, four in the north and two in the south. However, some Southerners boycotted the National Dialogue Conference and have rejected the federal state solution. They have also intensified their protests against the government, which may lead to some Southern leaders being sanctioned.
Following the vote on the resolution, Yemen’s ambassador to the UN, Jamal Abdullah Al-Sallal, said Yemen had worked hard to overcome the injustices of the past and fairly distribute its wealth among its people and address the Southern issue.