GCC countries urge forceful UN action over Yemen security

Top Stories

GCC countries urge forceful UN action over Yemen security

The call, at a meeting in Riyadh of the Gulf Cooperation Council, came as Houthi militiamen behind a power grab in Yemen fired live rounds to disperse thousands of protesters.

By (AFP)

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Sun 15 Feb 2015, 2:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:56 PM

Sanaa — Yemen’s Gulf neighbours urged the United Nations Saturday to act forcefully over the deteriorating security situation there, including possible military intervention, as more governments closed their embassies in Sanaa.

The call, at a meeting in Riyadh of the Gulf Cooperation Council, came as Houthi militiamen behind a power grab in Yemen fired live rounds to disperse thousands of protesters.

Home to Al Qaeda’s deadliest branch and a key US ally in the fight against the group, Yemen has descended into chaos since the militia, known as Houthis, seized Sanaa in September.

Matters worsened last month when they ousted the government.

Foreign ministers of the six GCC member countries called on the “UN Security Council to take a decision under Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter”, which allows the use of military force if there are breaches of the peace or acts of aggression.

They also called for an urgent meeting of the Arab League and of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

In a statement at the end of their meeting, they called for immediate international steps to guarantee the safety of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, now under effective house arrest, and of his prime minister.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that Yemen is falling apart and called for Western-backed Hadi to be restored to power.

In the city of Ibb, which the militia has held since last year, protesters chanted: “Houthi, Iran: Yemen is not Lebanon!”, in a reference to predominantly Houthi Iran’s alleged support for the militia.

They also shouted slogans against Russia, which is thought to be reluctant to take a hard line against the Houthis at the UN Security Council.

Witnesses said the Houthis fired warning shots to disperse the protest, wounding at least six people.

Similar demonstrations took place in the Houthi-populated city of Dhammar which is also under Houthi control, and the southern city of Daleh, where protesters demanded political parties end their UN-brokered talks with the militia in Sanaa.

In the capital, hundreds protested describing the militia as “gangs that could not build a state”.

Meanwhile, the family of demonstrator Saleh Awadh Al Bashiri, detained by the Houthis on Wednesday at a protest against their takeover, said he had died of torture wounds suffered in captivity.

Another two protesters who were held with him have been hospitalised after being found wounded and left on a street.

The families posted pictures on social media they said were of their sons showing parts of their bodies bruised and swollen from beatings.

On Sunday, the Houthis announced a ban on all demonstrations against them unless they are authorised by the interior ministry, which itself is now under their control.

The militiamen have been accused of attacking and detaining protesters as well as reporters covering demonstrations against their power grab.

Diplomatically, more countries shut their embassies, with Spain and the United Arab Emirates becoming the latest to announce on Saturday they had suspended operations at their missions in Sanaa.

The UAE foreign ministry said it has also evacuated all staff, following a similar move by GCC leader Saudi Arabia.

“This decision comes in light of the increasingly deteriorating political and security situation” and the “unfortunate events with the Houthis undermining legitimate authority in the country”, the UAE said in a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.

The United States, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and the Netherlands have also closed their embassies and withdrawn staff for security reasons.

Spain said it was temporarily suspending embassy activity in Yemen “in light of the current situation of insecurity and instability in Sanaa”.

Madrid’s embassy had advised all Spanish citizens to “temporarily” leave Yemen, the foreign ministry said.

And the Turkish foreign ministry “strongly” advised its citizens to leave also.

The Houthis had said Western powers had no reason to shut their embassies, insisting that security was solid in the capital.

Tehran also criticised the “hasty action” of closing embassies, insisting the Houthis were fighting “corruption and terrorism”.

Following consultations in New York on Thursday, Britain said it would work with Jordan on a resolution to outline the Security Council’s stance on Yemen.

More news from