Houthi militia attend a gathering in Sana'a. Image Credit: AFP file

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to extend the arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi rebels and an asset freeze and travel ban on Houthi leaders and top officials until November 15.

The British-drafted resolution also extends the mandate of the UN panel of experts monitoring the sanctions until December 15.

In February 2022, the Security Council expanded an arms embargo on Houthi leaders to include all Houthis, saying they have threatened the peace, security and stability of the war-torn country.

After Wednesday’s vote, the council met behind closed doors to hear briefings by Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, and Joyce Msuya, the assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

Yemen, the Arab world’s most impoverished country with a population of 26 million, plunged into civil war in 2014 after the Iranian-backed Houthis took over the capital of Sana’a. The internationally recognised government fled and sought support from neighboring Gulf countries.

In March 2015, a Saudi-led Arab military coalition began what turned into a devastating war to restore the government that has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 2 million and created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The war has deteriorated largely into a stalemate.

A UN-backed truce took effect last April and raised hopes for a longer pause in fighting, but it ended October 2 after just six months.

Grundberg told the council in January that despite the end of the truce, “the overall military situation in Yemen has remained stable.” He said he was encouraged by intensified regional and international diplomatic activity to end the country’s eight-year conflict, and he reportedly followed up on those efforts during Wednesday’s closed council meeting.