Saleh says UN resolution will return Yemen to the “dark ages”
Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Following the UN Security Council decision to impose sanctions on individuals judged to be obstructing Yemen’s political transition, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked the resolution, saying it “returned Yemen to the era of occupation.”
The UN on Wednesday passed Security Council Resolution 2140, which grants the authority to freeze assets and impose travel bans on individuals judged to be obstructing Yemen’s political transition for a period of one year. While the resolution did not explicitly identify those who were obstructing the peace process, Saleh was accused of doing so in a previous declaration by the UN Security Council in 2013.
Saleh condemned the resolution in a televised speech, saying: “This decision has returned Yemen to the era of occupation and replaces the institutions of the state with the terms of reference of the United Nations.”
The UN’s decision and the former president’s condemnation of it has created huge divisions in Yemen, including within the ruling General People’s Congress party leadership. President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi took over leadership of that party in the fall of 2011, when Saleh stepped down. Saleh has since faced accusations that he has sought to obstruct the transition process that removed him from power.
The latest Security Council resolution on Yemen emphasizes the “critical need to turn the page on the presidency of former president Saleh,” calling for a “cessation of all action meant to disrupt the political transition.”
The resolution authorizes punishment under UN Chapter VII, which the former Yemeni president strongly rejected, describing it as being “out of the question.”
“This decision is a threat to Yemen as a whole and will take Yemen back to the dark ages. This resolution will take Yemen back to the era before the revolution of September and October  and will eliminate the freedom the country is experiencing in terms of the freedom of the press and the peaceful transition of power,” Saleh added.
The Sana’a government welcomed the resolution, calling for all parties to join together to help the country complete the transitional process.
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar also welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2140, saying: “Once again the UN Security Council has spoken with one voice in support of peaceful change in Yemen.”
He added: “The Council supports the project for peaceful change and democratic governance. The Council also warns that spoilers who seek to obstruct or undermine the transition will be held to account.”