The UN security council has approved an arms embargo targeting leaders of Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebels and their key supporters, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son.
The vote, taken on Tuesday, was 14-0, with Russia abstaining.
The resolution is aimed at ending the Houthi’s military campaign against supporters of Yemen’s embattled president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and the rebels’ attempt to take over the country.
It demands that all Yemeni parties, especially the Houthis, end violence and “resume and accelerate” UN-brokered negotiations to continue the country’s political transition.
Saudi-led air strikes in support of Hadi and escalating fighting on the ground between the Houthis and Hadi’s supporters have pushed the Arab world’s poorest nation to the brink of collapse.
Jordan put the resolution to a vote as Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, called on Iran, which backs the Houthis, to use its influence to help bring the rebels to the negotiating table.
Observers say the fighting in has increasingly taken on the appearance of a proxy war between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Iran’s English-language television channel Press TV reported on Tuesday that Tehran will submit a four-point peace plan for resolving the crisis in Yemen to the United Nations on Wednesday.
The channel gave no further details. The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking in Madrid on Tuesday, put forward a peace proposal involving a ceasefire, humanitarian assistance, a dialogue between Yemeni factions and a broad-based government.
He also called for Saudi air strikes on Yemen to end.
The UN resolution imposes the weapons embargo on five men: Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi, Saleh and the former president’s eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh. It calls on all countries to inspect cargo headed to Yemen if there are “reasonable grounds” to believe it contains weapons.
In addition, the council imposed an asset freeze and travel ban on the Houthi leader and Saleh’s son. The same sanctions had already been imposed on the other three men last November.
The resolution asks all Yemeni parties, especially the Houthis, to end violence and quickly resume UN-brokered negotiations aimed at a political transition. It also demands the Houthis withdraw from areas they have seized, including Sana’a, relinquish arms and missiles seized from military and security institutions, and release the defence minister and all political prisoners.
It threatens further sanctions if any Yemeni party fails to implement its provisions.