AFP
Last updated: 30 March, 2012

UN Council concerned by new political troubles in Yemen

The UN Security Council on Thursday expressed concern over recent events in Yemen, where followers of former strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh have been accused of hampering the political transition.

“The Security Council expresses concern at the recent deterioration in cooperation among political actors and the risks this poses to the transition,” said a statement released by the 15-nation body.

The council called on all sides in Yemen “to remain committed to the political transition, constitutional order, to play a constructive role in the process and to reject violence,” said the statement read to the press by Britain’s UN ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi was elected last month to head an interim coalition government in place of Saleh, whose 33 years in power ended amid deadly protests. The government should organize elections in 2014.

After several members of Saleh’s party walked out of a cabinet meeting last week, the party was of seeking to undermine the political transition as the country also battles the spread of Al-Qaeda militants and growing famine.

Many Saleh associates remain in control of security bodies in Yemen.

The council expressed “strong concern about intensified terrorist attacks, including by Al-Qaeda, within Yemen.” It also called on the government and other groups “to release those protesters arbitrarily detained during the crisis” before Saleh’s departure.

The council appealed for international efforts to help Yemen battle its humanitarian crisis. The World Food Programme estimates that five million people now face serious food shortages.