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UN Resolution: Restore Yemen Government


FILE - Houthi fighters in army uniforms patrol outside the presidential palace in Sana'a, Yemen, Feb. 6, 2015.

The United Nations Security Council is demanding that Shi'ite Houthi rebels in Yemen restore the Sana'a government and immediately release U.S.-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Hadi and his ministers were detained last month when rebels toppled the government.

The demands are included in a resolution adopted unanimously Sunday by the 15-member Council. The measure also calls on the Iran-backed rebels to engage in "good faith" in U.N.-brokered peace talks.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a bloc of energy-rich Gulf states, earlier urged the Security Council to adopt a resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which permits such measures to be backed with economic sanctions.

The GCC also threatened to take action on its own if the Hadi government is not restored.

Sunday's resolution stops short of either sanctions or direct intervention, and would require new Security Council action for any eventual penalties to be applied.

Houthis won't cede power

There was no immediate rebel response to the U.N. move. But Houthi leaders have said they will not cede power in what they describe as "the face of threats."

Since seizing power in January, rebels have dissolved parliament and set up their own ruling body. They say they are carrying out a "revolution" against corrupt officials and economic ruin.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Yemenis protested against the country's takeover. In the central town of Ibb, Houthi gunmen fired on protesters, wounding at least four people.

Meanwhile, there are reports of heavy fighting in southern Yemen between rebel forces and Sunni tribesmen, many of whom are allied with local al-Qaida groups. Security sources say at least 26 people have been killed since Friday - 16 Houthis and 10 tribesmen.

The crisis has triggered a mass exodus of foreign diplomats, with The Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates the latest countries to shut down embassy operations. Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany, the United States, France and Britain previously closed their embassies in Yemen.

Yemen shares a long border with Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, and also has been fighting against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The United States has supported the campaign against al-Qaida with drone strikes -- missile attacks by unmanned aircraft targeting militants.