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UNSC fails to issue statement on Yemen dialogue over criticism against Saleh

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 14 (KUNA) -- The UN Security Council failed on Thursday to issue a presidential statement that would have welcomed the launch of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen on 18 March which would lead to elections by February 2014.
The Council President, the Republic of Korea, was to read the statement in a Council open meeting today, but Russia, diplomats said, broke the silence procedure, therefore the statement is now shelved since there was no consensus to issue it.
Diplomats said Russia objected to a paragraph in the statement which would have noted, "in particular, persistent allegations against (former Yemeni President) Ali Abdullah Saleh," and others who receive "money and weapons from outside of Yemen for the purpose of undermining the transition," in an indirect reference to Iran.
Russia, diplomats added, also objected to another paragraph in the statement which would have reiterated its "readiness to consider further measures, including under Article 41 of the UN Charter, if actions aimed at undermining the Government of National Unity and the political transition continue".
A diplomat told KUNA that according to the UN, the "biggest challenge" facing Yemen is former President Ali Abdullah Salah's continued presence in Yemen where he has a "powerful" impact in the country and uses his own fortune, estimated at USD 7 billion, to interfere in Yemeni current President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi's decisions and hamper his efforts towards the National Dialogue.
According to the diplomat, Hadi wrote a letter to the Council insisting that Saleh's continued presence is an obstacle to peace and reconciliation in the country, and urged the members to therefore adopt a resolution asking him to leave the country.
He said that cannot be done, because Saleh remains a Yemeni citizen, adding that while some members believe this would be an interference in Yemeni internal affairs, others believe that the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative is more important.
He dismissed the idea that the Council impose sanctions on Saleh. The ideal would be to discourage him from getting involved in the political life in the country or just encourage him to leave the country for medical treatment or tourism.
According to the presidential statement blocked by Russia, the Council would have also expressed concern over reports of interference in the transition by "individuals" in Yemen representing the former regime and who do not adhere to the guiding principles of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition agreement.
It would have emphasised the need for the National Dialogue Conference to be conducted in an inclusive manner involving the full participation of all segments of Yemeni society, including representatives from the South and other regions and called upon all parties to act in good faith.
It would have reiterated the need for the transitional period to be a Yemeni-led process, underpinned by a commitment to democracy, good governance, rule of law, national reconciliation and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people in Yemen.
It would have finally welcomed the GCC efforts in pursuing a peaceful political transition in Yemen. (end) sj.mt KUNA 150029 Feb 13NNNN