News / Middle East

UN Security Council Calls for Political Settlement in Yemen

Anti-government protesters carry a wounded protester from the site of clashes with security forces, in Sana'a, Yemen, October 15, 2011.
Anti-government protesters carry a wounded protester from the site of clashes with security forces, in Sana'a, Yemen, October 15, 2011.
Margaret Besheer

The U.N. Security Council sent a message Friday to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to accept a plan from the Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] to transfer power to his deputy in a bid to end the violence that has shaken Yemen for the past nine months.

The 15-member council unanimously adopted the resolution, which calls for Saleh to sign and implement without delay a political settlement based on the GCC initiative. The resolution also condemns the violence and calls on all parties to bring it to an end.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said the resolution includes “tough messages” to Saleh and the Yemeni authorities, as well as to the opposition.

“We urge on the back of this very strong and clear statement from the international community, that President Saleh now signs the GCC agreement and takes forward the political transition as the international community has urged him to do,” said Lyall Grant.

Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with two Liberian women earlier this month, welcomed the resolution during a visit to U.N. headquarters, but told reporters through an interpreter that it does not go far enough.

“We feel that the resolution did not address the issue of accountability,” said Karman.

Karman said Saleh must face a trial and that she opposes the immunity granted to him under the GCC plan.

Friday’s resolution is the first adopted by the Security Council since the Arab Spring uprising in Yemen began nine months ago.

The White House welcomed the action, saying in a statement that the international community sent a “united and unambiguous signal” to Saleh that he must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately. Adding that each day that passes without a political solution plunges Yemen deeper into turmoil.

The Secretary-General’s top political officer, Lynn Pascoe, said the resolution is a clear sign of deepening international concern about the absence of a political settlement in Yemen, and it clearly calls for action without further delay.

The United Nations repeatedly has warned about the deteriorating humanitarian, security and economic situation in Yemen.

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