Russia blocks UN statement on Yemen


Russia has prevented the UN Security Council from issuing a presidential statement welcoming Yemen's National Dialoguewhich is due to start on 18 March.

According to diplomats cited by the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Russia objected to a paragraph mentioning "persistent allegations" against ex-President Saleh and others who receive "money and weapons from outside Yemen for the purpose of undermining the [post-Saleh] transition".

It also objected to a paragraph that mentioned "readiness to consider further measures" under Article 41 of the UN Charter if "actions aimed at undermining the government of national unity and the political transition continue". (Article 41 permits various economic and diplomatic measures but not armed force.)

Russia has generally shown little interest in Yemen since the fall of the Marxist regime in the southern part of the country, though in 2011 it joined forces with China in blocking a UN Security Council resolution urging Saleh to refrain from violence against protesters.

The latest Russian move may be related to recent (disputed) claims about Iran supplying weapons to elements in Yemen.

According to KUNA, Yemen's interim president, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has been lobbying the security council to call on Saleh to leave the country. When Saleh stepped down from the presidency last year he was granted immunity from prosecution by Yemen's parliament and continues to live in Sana'a where he claims to spend much of his time gardening.

Hadi is said to have complained that Saleh continues to use his influence (and his alleged $7 billion fortune) to obstruct the political transition and progress towards the National Dialogue.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 15 February 2013