Yemen: UN sanctions approved against former president

Yemen: UN sanctions approved against former president
A tripartite deal has been reached to impose international sanctions against former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi leaders.
3 min read
11 November, 2014
Sanctions were reportedly approved after a tripartite deal [AFP]
Sanctions proposed by the US against former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been agreed by the UN Security Council. Restrictions were imposed after a tripartite deal was reached between Russia, the US and France, reportedly brokered by the UK and approved by China, an international diplomatic source in New York told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The deal was said to have been conditional on the US removing Ahmed Saleh, the former president's son, and the Houthi leader, Abd al-Malik al-Houthi from the sanctions list. The French had asked for Saleh's name to be removed, and the Russians for Houthi's, according to the source.
     Saleh Junior is seen as a potential rival to the president in future elections.

Tripartite talks nearly failed after Russia reportedly insisted on postponing sanctions against members of the Houthi movement. It softened its position after a high level Yemeni official visited Moscow, the source explained. Al-Araby al-Jadeed has not been able to confirm that the Yemeni official met his Russian counterparts or helped change Russia's position.

The Yemeni administration is more concerned about securing sanctions against Ahmed Saleh than his father, according to an informed Yemeni source, but it lacks sufficient evidence. Saleh Junior, currently Yemen's ambassador to the UAE, is seen as a potential rival to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in future presidential elections.

The outcome of Yemen's National Dialogue Conference held from March 2013 to January 2014, concluded that military personnel could not run in presidential elections until they had been out of service for a minimum of ten years. This will be enshrined in the forthcoming Yemeni constitution, and will exclude all of Ali Abdullah Saleh's relatives from running, including his son. It will also include the current president - who is still serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

In related events, the US welcomed the formation of a new Yemeni government in a statement issued by the White House, and reaffirmed its commitment to securing peace in the country. However, a source from the Yemeni embassy in Washington DC told al-Araby al-Jadeed that the new government headed by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah was facing difficulties because some parties refused to take part. They include the General People's Congress, headed by Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Diplomats have welcomed the appointment of Abdullah al-Saidi, former Yemeni Ambassador to the UN, as minister of foreign affairs. Saidi resigned from the UN over the Yemeni uprising in March 2011.

During the selection of candidates for leading cabinet positions, Bahah used his veto and threatened to resign if those selected were suspected of corruption or were not publicly supported, according to a diplomatic source at the Yemeni embassy in Washington.

Major General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed, a former minister of defence, was among those who missed out on a ministerial role in the new government. However, Bahah indicated that Ahmed could be appointed Yemeni ambassador to the US or Russia, which may give him diplomatic immunity in case he were also added to the UN sanctions list.

Former defence minister Ahmed is from the southern governorate of Abyan. This government is Yemen's first not to include a representative from Abyan.

Those included in the list of recent sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council are Ali Abdullah Saleh and two Houthi leaders: Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi, brother of Houthi leader Abd al-Malik, and Abu Ali al-Hakim, a Houthi military commander.

This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.