FILE - Khaled Mahfoodh Abdulla Bahah of Yemen.
FILE - Khaled Mahfoodh Abdulla Bahah of Yemen.

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's appointment of a new prime minister, the latest move in an effort to overcome several years of political turmoil in the country.

Hadi's choice Monday of Khaled Bahah, Yemen's ambassador to the U.N. and a former oil minister, also got the backing of the Shi'ite Houthi rebels who control the capital.  They rejected his previous prime minister nominee last week.

The Security Council held an emergency meeting on the situation in Yemen and urged the government to expedite reforms, particularly in the security sector.

U.N. Special Advisor on Yemen Jamal Benomar briefed the council on what he called the recent "sobering developments" in Yemen. He said a U.N.-backed agreement between the Houthis and the government last month is the only way to keep Yemen's political transition from collapsing.

“I hope that all sides will cooperate in good faith to move the transition forward. In this regard, I welcome the appointment of the new prime minister, Khaled Bahah. This is one step forward. Now swift action is needed to ensure the formation of the government and implement the other provisions of the agreement," said Benomar.

The sides agreed to the deal last month after the Houthis swept into the capital and staged weeks of protests calling for better power sharing and a new government.

Yemen has struggled for stability since widespread protests forced former longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office in 2012.

The country is also battling southern separatists and militants from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which is considered one of the terror group's most active branches.

The Security Council on Monday also condemned what council president Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina called the "growing number of terrorist attacks" backed by AQAP, and said the U.N. is determined to address the threat.

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