UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution threatening non-military sanctions against those trying to undermine Yemen's transition to democracy.
The U.N.'s most powerful body gave strong backing to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was sworn in Feb. 25 to replace longtime leader Ali Abdullah Saleh following an uncontested election aimed at ending more than a year of political turmoil.
Despite Hadi's initial efforts, his new government faces a vast array of problems ranging from widespread poverty and unresolved conflicts to security concerns, including from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
"The unprecedented humanitarian and economic challenges faced by the Yemenis are acute and must be addressed to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Yemen," the country's U.N. envoy, Jamal Benomar, told reporters after the vote.
The resolution condemns "all terrorist and other attacks against civilians, oil, gas and electricity infrastructure and against the legitimate authorities." It demands "the cessation of all actions aimed at undermining the government of national unity and the political transition," including interference with decisions relating to the restructuring of the armed and security forces and obstruction of military and civilian appointments.
The resolution expresses the Security Council's "readiness to consider further measures ... if such actions continue," including under Article 41 of the U.N. Charter, which authorizes non-military sanctions such as freezing financial assets or travel bans.
Yemen envisions the completion of a constitution in late 2013 enabling general elections to take place in February 2014, but the transition is proving to be bumpy. Hadi is trying to restructure powerful security forces packed with Saleh loyalists, launch a national dialogue that includes the southern secessionist movement and appease a restless religious minority in the north as well as disparate opposition groups in the heartland.
The Security Council resolution said the transition should focus on holding "an all-inclusive National Dialogue Conference" which must be transparent and include youth and women's groups. It must also investigate and prosecute alleged human rights abuses.
Benomar echoed the council in urging the Yemeni government should pass legislation on transitional justice to support national reconciliation "without further delay."
"Immediate action by the government and other actors should be taken in order to release those who were arbitrarily detained since the crisis erupted," he said.
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