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Yemenis impeding transition to face sanctions: UN

The UN envoy to Yemen says the international community could impose sanctions on "those impeding" the democratization process in the country after meeting with President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi

AFP , Wednesday 19 Dec 2012
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration outside Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's house, to show support for his latest orders to restructure some military units on Monday, in Sanaa August 8, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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The UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, has warned that the world body could impose sanctions on those impeding the political transition in the impoverished country, state news agency Saba reported.

There was a "possibility (the United Nations would) impose individual or group sanctions against whoever creates an obstacle or attempts to delay the track of the (political) settlement," a Saba report late on Tuesday quoted Benomar as saying.

A UN committee could be formed for this purpose or sanctions could be levied directly "when needed," said Benomar during a meeting with President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi who is leading Yemen during the ongoing two-year interim period ending February 2014.

A UN-brokered power transition deal saw former president Ali Abdullah Saleh eased out of office this year after three decades in power following protests calls for a national dialogue to produce a new constitution and an electoral law.

The national dialogue conference, originally scheduled for mid-November, has been delayed after factions in the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or outright secession for the formerly independent south, refused to join the talks.

The transition deal also stipulates restructuring the army and integrating military and security forces under a single command, a task that remains difficult with Saleh's sons and relatives still holding top security posts.

The United Nations made an urgent call earlier this month for Yemeni political parties to initiate the dialogue, warning that the country's transition was under threat.

Benomar, who played a key role in convincing Yemeni counterparts to sign the power transfer deal had said that "the transition is threatened by those who have still not understood that change must now occur".

He had accused opponents of the dialogue of being "keen to impede this transition and to profit from instability".

Benomar met with Southern Movement leaders in Cairo in October to prod them to participate in the national dialogue, while UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Sanaa last month promising technical and logistical help from the world body.

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