Yemen’s neighbours yesterday urged the UN to move forcefully over the deteriorating security situation, saying they would themselves act if the rival factions there did not resolve their differences.
The call, at a meeting in Riyadh of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), came as Shia militiamen behind a power grab in Yemen fired live rounds to disperse thousands of protesters.
Home to Al Qaeda’s deadliest branch and a key US ally in the fight against the group, Yemen has descended into chaos since the militia, known as Houthis, seized Sanaa in September. Matters worsened last month when they ousted the government.
Foreign ministers of the six GCC member countries urged the “UN Security Council to take a decision under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter”, which allows the use of military force if there are threats to peace.
They also asked for an urgent meeting of the Arab League and of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.
In a final communique, they called for immediate international steps to “guarantee the safety of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khalid Mahfoudh Bahah as well as other officials” who have been under de facto house arrest since January.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that Yemen is falling apart and said the Hadi should be restored to power.
The GCC also called on world powers to reject a “constitutional declaration” by the Houthis a week ago, under which they dissolved the government and parliament and tightened their grip on power.
They said they hoped ongoing UN efforts in Yemen would lead to an agreement by all parties there based on “preserving legitimacy” and “resuming the political process”.
Failing that, and without elaborating, they said they would take “measures that will enable them to preserve their vital interests in Yemen’s security and stability”.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister, HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, chaired the GCC Ministerial Council’s extraordinary meeting in Riyadh.
Al-Attiyah said that Yemen was now facing its gravest challenges since its 2011 revolution. He added the developments of recent weeks had puts more responsibility on GCC countries to move swiftly and prevent Yemen from falling into chaos.
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