Friday, November 18, 2011

Security Council to put new focus on Yemen crisis

November 18, 2011 (AFP)

UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council will on Monday discuss the refusal of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over power with increasing violence heightening pressure for international action, diplomats said.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Karman, a leading Yemeni activist, held talks with several UN envoys on Thursday as part of her campaign against Saleh. Karman is to lead a rally outside the UN headquarters on Friday.

The 15-member Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2014 on October 21 condemning attacks on demonstrators by Saleh government forces and strongly backing a Gulf Cooperation Council plan under which Saleh would end his 33 years in power.

Saleh is refusing to sign the plan however and the death toll in Yemen is mounting. Several hundred demonstrators have been killed since anti-government protests started in January and the authority of the government has been eroded across Yemen.

Karman met France's UN ambassador Gerard Araud on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

The two highlighted "that despite the appeals of the international community, and particularly the Security Council, the violence and the violations of human rights are continuing," said a French mission spokesman.

"The political transition demanded under resolution 2014 has not been started," the spokesman added.

The French spokesman said that the Security Council meeting could "consider the next steps and the means to get resolution 2014 applied."

UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, is to brief the Security Council on Monday on his latest talks with Saleh in Yemen.

Benomar said in Sanaa on Tuesday that he had made some progress on the handover. "But differences remain over the beginning of the transition -- mainly, one the powers of the vice president and the status of President Saleh."

Under the Gulf states plan, Saleh would hand over power to his vice president to head a transitional government.

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