U.N. Council Calls For Power Transfer in Yemen

Posted October 21st, 2011 at 5:05 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the Yemeni government for its crackdown on dissent and urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

The resolution, unanimously passed Friday by the council's 15 members, is the body's first resolution on Yemen since widespread protests began there in the spring.

The measure calls Yemen's use of force against protestors excessive and says “those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable.”

It reaffirms support for a Gulf Cooperation Council initiative that calls for Mr. Saleh to transfer power to a deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Mr. Saleh has voiced support for the plan several times, but each time, he has backed away without signing the deal.

In Washington, the White House said the resolution is “a united and unambiguous signal” sent by the international community to Mr. Saleh that he “must respond to the aspirations of the Yemeni people by transferring power immediately.”

The Security Council vote came two days after Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition activist Tawakkul Karman met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. She also urged diplomats in the world body to reject any plan that would give Mr. Saleh and his inner circle legal immunity.

For the past ten months, opposition activists have been demanding an end to Mr. Saleh's 33-year autocratic rule. Dozens of people have died in protest-related unrest over the past few days.

The Yemeni government has also been plagued by violence linked to al-Qaida militants.