Tuesday, 19 April 2011

UN Security Council supports GCC plan and calls for restraint

Source: agencies , 20/04/2011

 The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Tuesday urged all concerned parties in unrest-hit Yemen to exercise restraint after it failed to agree on a public statement at its first meeting held in New York to address the deteriorating situation in the Gulf nation.

The UNSC meeting was called by Germany in wake of the popular uprising against the decades-long rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen and the continuing brutal crackdowns on the anti-government demonstrators by security forces.

The Council members were briefed during Tuesday's closed-door meeting about the present situation in Yemen by a representative of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has just returned from the crisis-hit Gulf nation.

After the meeting, German Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters that the Council members had expressed concerns about the deteriorating situation in Yemen and called on all parties "to exercise restraint and to enter into a comprehensive dialogue" for resolving the crisis.

"Most of us in the council expressed explicitly support for the mediation efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council," Wittig added.

Meanwhile, reports quoting unnamed Council diplomats suggested that failure to issue a final statement after Tuesday's meeting was due to objections from China and Russia. The two permanent veto-power holding members of the council have been reluctant in the past to involve in international affairs of other nations.

US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, told reporters after the meeting that "there were several delegations that wanted instruction from (their) capitals". This implies that a statement would be issued in the coming days after the envoys discuss the issue with their governments.

Stating that "several themes emerged, including a call for restraint and an end to the violence", Rice added that there were concerns among Council members that the ongoing violence in Yemen could have adverse effects on regional and international peace and security.

Tuesday's UNSC meeting came hours after three people were killed in clashes between security forces and anti-government protesters in Yemen. While two people were killed when security forces opened fire on a demonstration in capital Sanaa, another person was killed in a police crackdown in the southern Taiz province.

It is estimated that more than 120 people have been killed in crackdowns by Yemeni security forces since the protests began on February 11. The protesters want President Saleh to step down from power immediately and are calling for economic and political freedom.

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