x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UN threatens Yemen with sanctions

The United Nations could sanction those impeding political transition in the impoverished country, the world body's envoy to Yemen said.

SANAA // The United Nations could sanction those impeding political transition in the impoverished country, the world body's envoy to Yemen said.

There was a "possibility [the UN would] impose individual or group sanctions against whoever creates an obstacle or attempts to delay the track of the [political] settlement," Jamal Benomar said on Tuesday.

A UN committee could be formed for this purpose or sanctions could be levied directly "when needed", said Mr Benomar during a meeting with the president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi.

A UN-brokered power-transition deal led to the former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, being eased out of office this year after three decades in power.

The national dialogue conference, scheduled for mid-November, was delayed after factions in the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy for the formerly independent south, refused to join the talks. But yesterday, a faction of the coalition, the National Council for the People of the South, said it would take part.

"We are going to participate in the dialogue because it is a civilised act, and at the same time, a must to defend our people," said Mohammed Ali Ahmed, the deputy head of the group.

By joining the dialogue, his group aims to defend the rights of the southerners to "regain their state", he said.

After North and South Yemen unified, the south broke away in 1994, sparking a short-lived civil war in which the region was overrun by northern troops.

The transition deal also stipulates restructuring the army and integrating military and security forces under a single command, a task that remains difficult with Mr Saleh's sons and relatives still in top security posts.