By James Reinl
UNITED NATIONS (AA) — The UN Security Council passed a resolution extending sanctions in Yemen on Tuesday despite reservations from Russia and China over references to the Iran-aligned Houthi rebel militants.
The United Kingdom, which drafted the document, and the United States and France were among the 13 members voting for the document in the 15-nation council, with abstentions Moscow and Beijing.
Council members had disagreed over how the resolution should tackle details of Yemen’s Houthi rebels receiving drone parts that bore similarities to weapons parts manufactured in Iran, according to a report by UN inspectors.
“The Houthis did not just conjure up the ability to launch advanced weapons hundreds of kilometers into Saudi Arabia and other neighboring states,” U.S. envoy Rodney Hunter told delegates after the vote.
“Iran has smuggled these weapons to the Houthis, and in the process, Iran has violated this council’s targeted arms embargo on the Houthis, as well as the council’s arms embargo on Iran.”
Richard Gowan, a UN expert with the International Crisis Group, a think tank, said the disagreement on Yemen showed that the Security Council was becoming “ever more adrift” when tackling threats in the Middle East.
“Now the Security Council has split in public over Yemen, traditionally the MENA conflict that has been least divisive,” Gowan said in a tweet, using an acronym to describe the Middle East and North Africa.
Yemen has endured years of chaos and bloodshed since the Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s government from Sanaa towards the end of 2014.
This prompted military intervention in 2015 by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which sought to restore Hadi’s UN-recognized government. Fighting has left 24.1 million people — or 80 per cent of the country’s population — needing handouts.