UNSC calls on Yemeni President to step down

The UN Security Council called on Saleh to keep a promise to immediately sign the plan "without further delay".

Updated: Oct 22, 2011, 18:16 PM IST

New York: The powerful UN Security
Council on Saturday called on Yemen`s embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh to quit as it demanded he immediately end
attacks by security forces on peaceful protesters seeking
political reforms in the country.

In an unanimously resolution, the 15-member UN Security
Council including India, called on Saleh to step down and
transfer power to his deputy as it condemned human rights
violations by security forces.

The resolution, which comes days after Libyan strongman
Muammar Gaddafi was killed, stresses that Gulf Cooperation
Council`s initiative should be implemented that calls for the
president to transfer power to his vice-president followed by
the formation of an interim government, a new constitution and
elections.

This is "essential for an inclusive, orderly and
Yemeni-led process of political transition."

Condemning human rights violations and the excessive use
of force by the Yemeni authorities against peaceful protesters
in the country`s eight-month uprising, the Security Council
said all sides should quickly implement a regional plan for an
orderly transition of power.

"Now is the time for government and opposition leaders to
live up to their responsibilities and reach an agreement. The
resolution is clear in this regard. It calls for action
without further delay."

The Council urged all opposition groups to "commit to
playing a full and constructive part in the agreement and
implementation" of the initiative and refrain from violence
and the use of force to achieve political aims.

It called for all those responsible for violence and
human rights abuses to be held accountable.

The UN Security Council called on Saleh, who has been
power for 33 years, to keep a promise to immediately sign the
plan by six-member GCC for a peaceful power transition
"without further delay".

Lynn Pascoe, the UN Under Secretary-General for Political
Affairs, told reporters here after adoption of the resolution,
that the Yemeni sides "have debated the key elements for a
transition settlement for quite some time".

In the resolution, the UNSC noted that hundreds of people
mainly civilians, including women and children had died in
months of violence between supporters and opponents of Saleh,
and demanded that the authorities immediately end attacks by
security forces against civilians.

The resolution also voiced concern over presence in the
country of the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula, and the risk of new terrorist attacks in parts of
Yemen.

The Council also called on the international community to
provide humanitarian aid to the country.

Jamal Benomar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon`s Special
Adviser on Yemen, last week warned the Council that security
had deteriorated "very dramatically", with five or six
provinces out of government control, al Qaeda militants
holding three cities and an important geographic area in the
south, and Sana`a, the capital, split between rival forces.

Pascoe said the Secretary-General welcomes the adoption
of the Security Council resolution on Yemen.

"This is a clear sign of deepening international concern
about the absence of a political settlement in Yemen, and how
this is contributing to a rapid deterioration in the situation
in the country."

PTI