Middle East

Yemen crisis: UN demands Houthis cede power

Houthi fighters ride a military truck on a street near the Saudi and UAE embassies in Sanaa Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Houthis have been the de facto power in the Yemeni capital for months

The United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding Shia Houthi rebels immediately cede power in Yemen.

But the resolution is not enforceable militarily, something Yemen's Gulf neighbours had been pressing for.

The Houthis ousted the government in the capital Sanaa earlier this month.

They have been expanding south from their northern stronghold, putting them in conflict with al-Qaeda in Yemen (AQAP) and other Sunni groups.

The UN has warned that Yemen is "collapsing". The US and other countries have closed their embassies in Yemen in response to the unrest.

The resolution calls for the Houthis to "immediately and unconditionally" withdraw from government institutions.

It demands the release of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi from house arrest and warns UN member states against "external interference".

It also declares a "readiness to take further steps" if the Houthis do not comply, without elaborating.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, had wanted the resolution to be adopted under Chapter Seven, which would allow it to be enforced militarily or through sanctions.

The Houthis are suspected of being backed by Iran, something both deny.