The Security Council today demanded that Houthi rebels in Yemen “immediately and unconditionally” withdraw from Government institutions, safely release President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and all others from house arrest, and engage in good faith in United Nations-brokered negotiations designed to keep the fracturing Middle Eastern country on a steady path towards democratic transition.
Through the unanimous adoption of resolution 2201 (2015) in a late-breaking meeting, the Council strongly deplored actions by the Houthis — who had gained control of the capital Sana’a in September — to dissolve parliament and take over Government institutions, demanding that they refrain from further unilateral actions that could undermine the political transition and security of the country.
The action comes just days after the Secretary-General’s warning to the 15-member body that Yemen was collapsing under the weight of a protracted political crisis, widespread attacks by Al-Qaida, increasing secessionist tendencies in the south and an acute humanitarian crisis. (See Press Release SC/11777.)
By today’s resolution, the Council urged all parties to agree upon — and publicly announce — dates for completing the constitutional consultation process, hold a referendum on the text and conduct elections under the new electoral law.
It strongly called on all parties, in particular the Houthis, to abide by the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, as well as the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement and its security annex, which provided for a Yemeni-led democratic transition.
More broadly, the Council demanded that all parties cease armed hostilities against the people and legitimate authorities of Yemen, and relinquish arms seized from military and security institutions. All States must refrain from external interference that sought to “foment conflict” and instead support the political transition.
Stressing the importance of the United Nations’ cooperation with international partners, the Council requested the Secretary-General to propose options for strengthening the office of the Special Adviser, including on United Nations assistance for finalizing and adopting the Constitution, carrying out electoral reform and holding general elections. He was asked to report on developments within 15 days of the text’s adoption and every 60 days thereafter.
In the short debate that followed, delegates welcomed the resolution as a strong sign of the Council’s unity in urging all parties to prevent Yemen’s “backsliding” into civil war. Events there had led to a massive political and security vacuum, some said, expressing alarm at the takeover of Government bodies and potential spill-over effects for the region. All speakers reiterated the importance of a peaceful, inclusive and political transition, in line with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and other key instruments that formed the road map for the country’s return to security and stability.
Speaking in the debate were the representatives of Jordan, United Kingdom, United States, Russian Federation, France, Spain, Chad, Malaysia, New Zealand, Venezuela, Chile, Angola, Lithuania and China.
The meeting began at 5:10 p.m. and ended at 5:50 p.m.
DINA KAWAR (Jordan) welcomed the adoption of the resolution, saying it reflected her country’s keenness to restore security and stability in Yemen as soon as possible. Developments there led to the creation of a massive political and security vacuum and an accelerated deterioration of the situation, she said, adding that without the international community’s engagement, the outcome could be an ominous one. The unanimous adoption of the resolution, therefore, conveyed a significant message that should be taken seriously by all parties. The Houthis must immediately engage in good faith in the United Nations-brokered negotiations, as well as refrain from further unilateral actions that could undermine the political process. She reiterated the centrality and significance of a peaceful, inclusive and political transition process that involved all parties in Yemen in line with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation mechanism, the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference and the Peace and Partnership Agreement, which consisted a genuine basis for ensuring the security and stability of Yemen in its march towards a lasting political settlement.
MARK LYALL GRANT (United Kingdom) said the world was waiting for a powerful message from the Security Council and had today received it. The Houthis must cease using violence as a political tool and release political leaders, he stressed. The agreed and legitimate road map to peace already existed and all parties should engage in good faith negotiations brokered by the United Nations. He welcomed the united voice with which the Council had spoken and underscored the critical role of the Gulf Cooperation Council States towards lasting peace.
SAMANTHA POWER (United States) said all parties, including the Houthis, should engage in good faith negotiations towards a peace settlement. The people of Yemen deserved a clear path back to a political process, legitimate Government and clear timelines for a Constitution and elections. She underscored the Council’s demand that the Houthis free from detention the political leadership and affirmed the United States’ support for all those working to achieve a peaceful and stable Yemen.
VLADIMIR SAFRONKOV (Russian Federation) said the Council had reaffirmed the centrality of the agreed road map and urged all parties to desist from unilateral actions detrimental to the peace process. The Special Adviser of the Secretary-General should work towards devising a consensual formula for State governance, which was important in light of the terrorist threat and instability in the region.
FRANÇOIS DELLATRE (France) said today’s resolution had shown the Council’s capacity to act unanimously in support of the Yemeni transition. While Yemen had shown its capacity to carry out a democratic transition, since July 2014, progress had regressed. As the political transition entered its last stage, Yemen had sunk into political insecurity that risked undoing all efforts. The resolution underlined the need for all parties to commit to United Nations-brokered negotiations towards a political solution and support the good offices mission led by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser. The international community had rejected the use of force to achieve the goals, calling on parties to respect the rules of the democratic game and define a consensual political solution. Finally, the text sent a strong message favouring Yemen’s unity and integrity. He called for a resumption of the political transition, which would pave the way for cooperation in countering terrorism.
ROMÁN OYARZUN MARCHESI (Spain) welcomed the text, saying it had shown the Council’s credibility and would help stop the violence in Yemen. He encouraged all parties to resume dialogue and the transition process; follow the Gulf Cooperation Council Implementation Mechanism; and take part in inclusive dialogue as the only way to ensure prosperity. Insecurity on the ground had led Spain to suspend its diplomatic activities in Yemen. It would resume them once conditions allowed. He cited concerns that Ansar al-Sharia was composed of individuals with little training and Spain was unsure whether they would resume a path to peaceful political transition. Yemen was ranked third in the world in terms of number of weapons per inhabitant. The Council must remain seized of the matter.
MADELEINE ANDEBENG LABEU ALINGUE (Chad) said the delegation had voted in favour of today’s resolution, welcoming it as strong — in deploring unilateral measures taken by the Houthis and urging them to withdraw from State institutions — and balanced with calls for all parties to commit to negotiations towards a political solution, in line with the Gulf Cooperation Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement. She called on all actors to implement the resolution in order to find a political solution to the crisis. All conflict parties must immediately engage in dialogue and avoid resorting to force to resolve differences.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia) noted the fourth anniversary of the revolution that had sparked the democratic transition in Yemen, which itself had stemmed from people’s aspirations. Calling Yemen a “success model” that had arisen from the Arab Spring, he said its path included a road map and timeline for that transition. Today, the country risked backsliding into civil war, he said, expressing alarm at the unilateral takeover of the Government by the Houthis, the looming secession in the south, and the dire humanitarian crisis. He hoped today’s resolution would send a clear signal that efforts to derail the political transition — directly or indirectly — were unacceptable. He called for the release of the President and others from house arrest, saying the success of negotiations would depend on the political will of Yemenis. He urged all parties, notably the Houthis, to uphold their commitments in the Gulf Cooperation Council and its Implementation Mechanism, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, as those remained the only legitimate path to a democratic, stable and inclusive Yemen.
JIM MCLAY (New Zealand) said the resolution emphasized the centrality of the agreed framework for a lasting and durable political settlement in Yemen and condemned the unilateral action by the Houthis. The resolution was overdue in view of the coup against the Council-supported peace settlement, he said, calling for the early release of the political leadership. The Council’s actions were being closely watched in Yemen and past actions had produced results there. While the resolution focused on the immediate crisis, also central to Yemen’s long-term stability were the humanitarian situation, terrorist threats and political transition. The Council must, therefore, remain seized of the matter.
RAFAEL DARÍO RAMÍREZ CARREÑO (Venezuela) said negotiations were the only way to achieve lasting and durable peace in Yemen. His country rejected any unilateral actions detrimental to the peace process, as well as all acts of terrorism. All parties must adhere to the agreed road map in good faith, he said, reaffirming his Government’s commitment to Yemen’s sovereignty and territorial independence. All politicians in detention must be released immediately and dialogue needed to involve all stakeholders and parties, as well as religious authorities.
CRISTIÁN BARROS MELET (Chile) said the resolution was representative of the solidarity of the international community’s sentiment. He encouraged all parties to avoid unilateral actions and join United Nations-brokered talks towards advancing the peace process. He called for the immediate release of political leaders presently under house arrest.
JULIO HELDER DE MOURA LUCAS (Angola) expressed hope that the unanimous adoption would make a tangible contribution to the Special Adviser’s efforts to resume the peace process. The Houthis’ actions were harming the peace process, he said, as he stressed the urgency of preventing the radicalization of political forces and a humanitarian crisis. Given the tendencies towards secession in the south and the terrorist threat, urgent action became all the more important to rescue the political transition. All parties must abide by the Council resolution and make the required compromises.
RAIMONDA MURMOKAITĖ (Lithuania) said the Council recently had been too slow to act on several occasions, making today’s resolution in which it expressed support for Yemen a powerful message that all parties must engage in a dialogue that led to agreement on a draft Constitution, a referendum and national elections. Recalling the Council’s role to support Yemen’s democratic transition, she thanked the sponsors of today’s text, Jordan and the United Kingdom, stressing also the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council and others which were essential to Yemen’s progress.
LIU JIEYI (China), Council president, speaking in his national capacity, welcomed today’s resolution, reiterating the importance of Yemen’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and requesting all parties to engage in dialogue. He further urged them to bear in mind the country’s interests; implement all resolutions; accelerate dialogue and negotiations; and achieve reconciliation as soon as possible. Citing the importance of the Peace and National Partnership Agreement in order to advance the political transition, he supported the good offices and mediation role by the Secretary-General and the Special Adviser, as well as that of the Gulf Cooperation Council and others. China would continue to help advance the political transition process in Yemen, he added.
The full text of resolution 2201 (2015) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012) and 2140 (2014) and presidential statements of 15 February 2013 and 29 August 2014,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen, and its commitment to stand by the people of Yemen,
“Supporting the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council and commending its engagement in assisting the political transition in Yemen,
“Deploring the unilateral actions taken by the Houthis to dissolve parliament and take over Yemen’s Government institutions, which have seriously escalated the situation, expressing alarm at the acts of violence committed by the Houthis and their supporters, which have undermined the political transition process in Yemen, and jeopardized the security, stability, sovereignty and unity of Yemen,
“Emphasizing that the political transitional process agreed upon by the parties in the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement has been undermined,
“Expressing grave concern that the Houthis are holding Yemeni Government officials, including President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Prime Minister Khalid Bahah and members of the Cabinet, under house arrest,
“Expressing grave concern over reports of the use of child soldiers by Houthi forces, Ansar Al-Sharia and Government forces,
“Underscoring the importance of all parties allowing all Yemenis to assemble peacefully without fear of attack, injury, arrest or retaliation,
“Noting the formidable economic, security and social challenges confronting Yemen, which have left many Yemenis in acute need of humanitarian assistance,
“Emphasizing the need for the return to the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism and the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, including drafting a new Constitution, electoral reform, the holding of a referendum on the draft Constitution and timely general elections, to avoid further deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation in Yemen,
“Reiterating the need for comprehensive, independent and impartial investigations consistent with international standards into alleged human rights violations and abuses in line with the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, to ensure full accountability,
“Stressing that the solution to the situation in Yemen is through a peaceful, inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led political transition process that meets the legitimate demands and aspirations of the Yemeni people for peaceful change and meaningful political, economic and social reform, as set out in the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, and in this regard reaffirms its full support for, and commitment to, the efforts of the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Yemen, Mr. Jamal Benomar,
“Condemning the growing number of attacks carried out or sponsored by Al‑Qaida in the Arabian peninsula, and expresses its determination to address this threat in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law including applicable human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, and in this regard, through the Al-Qaida sanctions regime administered by the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) and reiterates its readiness, under the above-mentioned regime, to sanction further individuals, groups, undertakings and entities who do not cut off all ties to Al-Qaida and associated groups,
“Expressing concern at the ability of Al-Qaida in the Arabian peninsula to benefit from the deterioration of the political and security situation in Yemen, mindful that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivation, whenever, wherever and by whomsoever committed,
“Recalling its determination in resolution 2140 (2014) that the situation in Yemen constitutes a threat to international peace and security,
“1. Strongly deplores actions taken by the Houthis to dissolve parliament and take over Yemen’s Government institutions, including acts of violence;
“2. Reiterates its call for all parties in Yemen to adhere to resolving their differences through dialogue and consultation, reject acts of violence to achieve political goals, and refrain from provocation and all unilateral actions to undermine the political transition;
“3. Expresses grave concern over the takeover by the Houthis of State media outlets and rejects the use of the media to incite violence;
“4. Strongly calls upon all parties, in particular the Houthis, to abide by the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement and its security annex, which provide for a Yemeni-led democratic transition;
“5. Urges all parties, in particular the Houthis, to accelerate inclusive UN‑brokered negotiations, to continue the political transition in order to reach a consensus solution in accordance with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement and its security annex, and to implement it;
“6. Urges all parties to agree upon and announce publicly dates for completing the constitutional consultation process, to hold a referendum on the constitution, and to conduct elections under the new electoral law pursuant to the new constitution;
“7. Demands that the Houthis immediately and unconditionally:
(a) engage in good faith in the UN-brokered negotiations; (b) withdraw their forces from Government institutions, including in the capital Sana’a, and normalize the security situation in the capital and other provinces, and relinquish Government and security institutions;
(c) safely release President Hadi, Prime Minister Bahah, members of the Cabinet and all individuals under house arrest or arbitrarily detained;
(d) refrain from further unilateral actions that could undermine the political transition and the security of Yemen;
“8. Demands that all parties in Yemen cease all armed hostilities against the people and the legitimate authorities of Yemen and relinquish the arms seized from Yemen’s military and security institutions, in accordance with the Peace and National Partnership Agreement and its security annex;
“9. Calls on all Member States to refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability and instead to support the political transition;
“10. Calls on all parties to abide by commitments to ensure the security of the diplomatic community and its premises;
“11. Requests the Secretary-General to continue his good offices role, notes with appreciation the work of his Special Adviser, Jamal Benomar, stresses the importance of the UN’s close coordination with international partners, including the Gulf Cooperation Council, Group of Ambassadors in Sana’a, and other actors, in order to contribute to the successful transition;
“12. Further requests the Secretary-General to continue to coordinate assistance from the international community in support of the transition, and to propose options for strengthening the office of the Special Adviser to enable him to fulfil his mandate, including on UN assistance for finalizing and adopting the draft Constitution, undertaking electoral reform, holding general elections, and creating mechanisms for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, as well as security sector reform;
“13. Requests the Secretary-General to report on the implementation of this resolution, and to continue to report on developments in Yemen, including on the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue conference, and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement and its security annex within 15 days after the date of adoption of this resolution and every 60 days thereafter;
“14. Declares its readiness to take further steps in case of non-implementation by any Yemeni party of this resolution, in particular paragraphs 5, 6, 7 and 8 above;
“15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”