The UN Security Council on Sunday demanded Yemen’s Houthi rebels relinquish control of the government and withdraw their forces from the capital.
The 15-member council unanimously adopted a Britain and Jordan-drafted resolution at an urgent session to discuss the political and security crisis in the impoverished country.
In recent months, Yemen has seen the emergence of a new political crisis – one that has left the Shia Houthi group in control of the capital, Sanaa, before moving on to establish control over other parts of the country.
Houthis dissolved the parliament Feb. 6 and formed a “transitional council” to run the country for two years.
The takeover, however, was rejected by most of Yemen’s political forces – along with neighboring countries – which described it as a coup against constitutional legitimacy.
The resolution, which falls short of invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter that allows it to take military action, demanded that the Houthis “immediately and unconditionally” withdraw their forces from Sanaa and relinquish government and security institutions.
It also called for an end to “external interference” that sought to “foment conflict” and urged the Houthis to release President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and members of the cabinet who are “under house arrest or arbitrarily detained.”
The Security Council decision comes three days after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s warning to the council that Yemen was on the brink of collapse under the weight of political crisis, attacks by al-Qaeda, increasing secessionist tendencies in the south and an acute humanitarian crisis.