UN to vote on sanctions against Yemen’s Houthi rebels

UN to vote on sanctions against Yemen's Houthi rebels
Jordan-drafted resolution calls for blacklisting individuals and freezing assests

The UN Security Council will vote on Tuesday on a draft resolution blacklisting individuals believed to be involved in Yemen’s Shiite Houthi insurgency, diplomatic sources said.

If adopted, the Jordan-drafted resolution would impose a global asset freeze and travel ban against Ahmed Saleh, son of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Abdul Malik al Houthi, a Houthi leader, according to a copy of the resolution seen by the Anadolu Agency.

It would also impose an arms embargo on the Houthi forces, who “attempted to unilaterally replace the legitimate government of Yemen with an illegitimate governing authority that the Houthis dominated.”

The position of Russia, a permanent member of the council that wields a veto, is considered key to Tuesday’s vote. Moscow wants to extend the proposed arms embargo to Yemen’s UN-backed government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, according to media reports.

Yemen has been in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran the capital Sanaa and from where they have sought to extend their influence over the rest of the fractious country.

The draft says the rebels must withdraw from territory they have seized.

Since March 25, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies have been pounding Houthi positions across Yemen in a bombardment that has killed more than 600 people, according to the UN.

Riyadh says the strikes are in response to appeals by Hadi to “save the [Yemeni] people from the Houthi militias.”

The Houthis have denounced the U.S.-backed offensive as an unwarranted “Saudi-American onslaught” on Yemen.