UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Saudi Arabia's U.N. ambassador said Friday a vote on a draft United Nations resolution that would impose new sanctions on leaders of Yemen's Houthi Shiite rebels and the country's former president and his son will likely take place early next week.
The debate of the sanctions resolution is taking place as fighting escalates between the Houthis and supporters of Yemen's beleaguered president, and airstrikes by a Saudi-led Sunni coalition, threaten to push Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, into collapse.
The draft is aimed at ending the Houthis' attempt to take over the strategic Mideast country.
Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said Russia still wants changes to the text that Jordan had put in a final form for a vote.
Jordan, which holds the Security Council presidency this month, held separate meetings Friday with the five veto-wielding council members, including Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, trying to ensure adoption of the resolution.
The draft would impose an asset freeze and travel ban on Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi and the ex-president's eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh. The council imposed the same sanctions on former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the rebel group's military commander Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and the Houthi's second-in-command Abdullah Yahya al Hakim last November.
The Jordanian draft would impose an arms embargo on all five men and call on all countries, especially Yemen's neighbors, to inspect cargo headed to Yemen if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe it contains weapons.
The draft also demands that all Yemeni parties, especially the Houthis, end the violence. It demands that the Houthis withdraw from areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa, and relinquish all arms and missiles seized from military and security institutions.
Russia has insisted on an arms embargo on all parties to the escalating conflict.
Al-Mouallimi said Russia also wants other changes to the language on sanctions and on the cessation of violence and it wants inclusion of its call for "humanitarian pauses."
"In principle, I think we are close to an agreement," Al-Mouallimi said. "I think it's a matter of wording, a matter of finding the right phrases."