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On Yemen, US Notes Houthi Demands, Says They Have Role to Play

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 31 -- Amid Houthi demands in Yemen, on October 31 the US State Department put out this answer to a question taken earlier that day:

Question: Do you have any reaction to reports that the Houthis have given President Hadi 10 days to form a government?

Answer: We have seen the reports that speakers at a Houthi-convened conference today announced a deadline for President Hadi to form a government in 10 days.  U.S. officials continue to support the efforts of Yemen’s political constituencies, especially President Hadi and Prime Minister Bahah, in implementing the provisions of the September 21 Peace and National Partnership Agreement, including the formation of a government.  All Yemenis, including the Houthis, have an important role to play in working peacefully to form a government that can meet the needs of the Yemeni people and continue to pursue the key steps of its political transition.

  Back on October 13 after Yemeni Prime Minster designate Ahmed Awadh Bin Mubarak was vetoed by the Houthis, on October 13 President Hadi appointed Yemen’s current UN Ambassador Khaled Mahfoodh Abdulla Bahah to the position.

 Later on October 13 after a three-hour UN Security Council meeting, brief "press elements" were read out at the stakeout once again vaguely threatening sanctions -- Inner City Press' questions including about secession of the South were not answered -- and welcoming Bahah as prime minister.

He was Minister of Oil and Minerals of Yemen from 2006 until 2008, under Ali Saleh, including being “the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Project with investments of over $4 Billion, Chairman of the Safer Exploration and Production Petroleum Company and, Chairman of the Yemen General Corporation for Oil and Gas, which includes the Aden Refinery Company, the Yemen Refinery Company, the Yemen Oil Company, the Yemen Investment Oil Company, and the Petroleum Training Center.”

  That's a whole lot of hydrocarbons.

When UN Security Council president for October Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina read-out the Council's press statement on Yemen on October 10, Inner City Press asked if there was increased discussion in the Council of imposing the sanctions for which a committee, well paid but yet to act, has already been set up.

The Security Council's last press statement on September 23 said that “the members of the Security Council recall that the members of the Sanctions Committee established under resolution 2140 expressed their readiness, with a sense of urgency, to consider proposals for the designation of individuals or entities as subject to the targeted sanctions measures under resolution 2140.”

Perceval said there would be consultations of the Council on October 10.

  Yet more sources are telling Inner City Press that even as the US has belatedly turned serious about imposing the long threatened sanctions on Ali Saleh, another permanent member of the UN Security Council, France, still hoping for its national hydrocarbon industry to continue the privileged deals it had under Saleh (for example the 2005 LNG deal with Total, criticized by many including Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman, UN angle here) is blocking or delaying sanctions, as least until now.

  Security Council president for October Maria Cristina Perceval of Argentina, in the elements to the press she read out, said the Council will now urgently considered sanctions. We'll see. Watch this site.


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