Political Analysis

Germany urges quick action on Yemen, U.N. warns

National Yemen

Jamal Bin-Omer

* UK drafts Yemen resolution; Russia, China seen on board

* UN envoy warns of deteriorating security situation

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Germany said on Tuesday it was "high time" for the U.N. Security Council to back an Arab plan urging Yemen's president to step down as a U.N. envoy warned the security situation there was rapidly deteriorating.

Diplomats on the council said on Monday they hoped the council would adopt a British-drafted resolution by early next week that endorses efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to defuse the months-long crisis. [ID:nN1E7990SK]

"We have to support the GCC efforts and we expect that the penholder of the situation in Yemen -- that's the UK -- announces a resolution today," German Ambassador Peter Wittig said ahead of a closed-door council meeting on Yemen.

"We want the council to be active and to demand President (Ali Abdullah) Saleh to sign and endorse, finally, the transition that was proposed by the GCC," he told reporters. "It's high time that we act."

The U.N. special envoy on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, spoke to reporters after addressing the 15-nation council behind closed doors. He said there was "a sense of urgency, that this crisis has been prolonged unnecessarily."

"The security situation has deteriorated very dramatically," he said. "Government officials acknowledge that five or six provinces are out of government control. There is a large area in the north that is controlled now by the Houthi insurgency." 
But Benomar said there was a sense that both sides are prepared to cooperate and that any push to resolve the crisis would have to be Yemeni-led.

The British-drafted resolution, diplomats said, would voice clear support for a GCC peace initiative that Saleh has backed away from three times. That plan calls for him to form an opposition-led Cabinet and then hand power to his deputy before early parliamentary and presidential elections.

Security Council resolutions, unlike statements, are considered legally binding.