Anti-Houthi protesters demonstrate in Yemen's mainly Sunni southwestern city of Taiz, March 21, 2015.
Photo by Anees Mahyoub/Reuters

Yemen crisis: U.N. Security Council to meet after Houthis seize Taiz

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Sunday on the situation in Yemen after Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi called for an “urgent intervention” by the 15-member body.

Hadi on Saturday accused the Iranian-allied Houthi militia that controls the capital Sanaa of staging a coup against him, and said he would “raise Yemen’s flag” in the Houthis’ northern stronghold.

The meeting comes after Houthi fighters took over the central city of Taiz on Saturday. Residents of Taiz, on a main road from the capital Sanaa to the country’s second city of Aden, said that Houthi militias took over the city’s military airport without a struggle from local authorities.

In a letter to the Security Council, seen by Reuters, Hadi called for an “urgent intervention in all available means to stop this aggression that is aimed at undermining the legitimate authority, the fragmentation of Yemen and its peace and stability.”

Yemen has been hurtling towards civil war since last year when the Houthis seized Sanaa and advanced into Sunni areas, leading to clashes with local tribes and energizing a southern separatist movement. Hadi called for a Security Council resolution to “deter the Houthi militias and their allies, to stop their aggression against all governorates, especially the city of Aden, and to support the legitimate authority.”

U.N. mediator Jamal Benomar is likely to brief the council on Sunday via video link and the ambassadors of Yemen and Qatar, as chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council that comprises Gulf Arab states, will also speak, diplomats said.

The Security Council is negotiating a statement on Yemen that could be adopted during the meeting, diplomats said. “I urge the council to rise up to its responsibilities to protect the security and support the legitimacy in Yemen,” Hadi wrote.

Yemen

Yemen crisis: U.N. Security Council to meet after Houthis seize Taiz