Yemen ‘collapsing before our eyes’: Ban tells Security Council

The UN chief Ban Ki-moon was reporting to the 15-member council following his visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks that he said focused on “preventing civil war in Yemen.” He said he is really concerned about the present condition of Yemen.

He called for President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his prime minister to be “granted freedom of movement” following the power grab by the Shiite militia known as the Huthis

Yemen, a key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda, has been in turmoil since the Huthis captured Sanaa in September .

“Either the country will face civil war and disintegration, or the country will find a way to put the transition back on track,” Benomar added.

Benomar has been leading UN efforts to crack a deal that would push the Huthis to step back from their power grab and restore some stability.

The instability is creating conditions for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to expand its grip to other parts of the country after AQAP fighters seized control of a camp on Thursday, Benomar said.

Following behind-closed door consultations, Britain said it would be working with Jordan on a resolution that would outline the Security Council’s stance on Yemen.

Chinese Ambassador Liu Jieyi, who holds this month’s presidency of the council, said a resolution might be the best way “to help with the continuation of the political transition.”

UN diplomats raised concern that Russia may be reluctant to take a hard line on the Huthis and demand they withdraw from Sanaa.

The United States, Britain and France on Wednesday rushed to close their embassies over security fears, with US staff destroying top-secret documents and sensitive equipment before pulling out.

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