What's In Blue

Posted Tue 13 May 2014

First Briefing by the Chair of the Yemen Sanctions Committee

Tomorrow afternoon (14 May), Ambassador Raimonda Murmokait&#279 (Lithuania), chair of the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee, will brief the Security Council. Council members will then meet in consultations. (The first briefing of the chair was scheduled for late April but as the Committee had only recently been established it was moved to allow Murmokait&#279 to brief the Council once more substantive activities had been carried out.)

On 26 February, the Council adopted resolution 2140 which established a sanctions regime (asset freeze and travel ban) to target those undermining the political transition, impeding the implementation of the final report of the National Dialogue Conference or being responsible for human rights abuses in Yemen. The specific individuals targeted by the measures are to be designated by the 2140 Yemen Sanctions Committee. The four members of the Panel of Experts (PoE) assisting the Committee were appointed on 16 April (S/2014/282), but its coordinator withdrew shortly afterwards. The Secretariat is currently identifying his replacement.

Murmokait&#279 is expected to brief the Council on the setting-up of the Committee, including the adoption of its guidelines, the appointment of its PoE, the first meetings of the Committee and its cooperation with other sanctions committees. The Committee’s first meeting was attended by representatives from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Yemen. The presence of GCC representatives appears to be an indication that greater effort is being made to garner the support of GCC countries. After the adoption of resolution 2140 some members of the GCC had indicated concern over having a sanctions regime in Yemen and the way the resolution had been negotiated. On 24 April, Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, briefed Council members on his bilateral visits to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and conveyed the support of the two countries to the political transition in Yemen.

Murmokait&#279 is also expected to brief the Council on the first informal consultations with the remaining three members of the PoE as well as on some preliminary thinking on the methodology the PoE is planning to develop. Some Council members seem to be of the opinion that no listing is needed at this point, believing that the threat of being listed may be enough of a deterrent. This may lead to some interesting discussions in the Committee if the PoE suggests individuals for listing. In the 24 April consultations with Council members, Benomar highlighted that there was some evidence that the setting-up of the Sanctions Committee is being closely monitored in Yemen by those who are concerned that they might be listed.

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