U.S. may freeze assets to boost Yemen transition: report

Reuters News
Posted: May 16, 2012 12:13 AM
U.S. may freeze assets to boost Yemen transition: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to give the Treasury Department authority on Wednesday to freeze U.S.-based assets of anyone who "obstructs" implementation of the Washington-backed political transition in Yemen, the Washington Post reported late on Tuesday.

Administration officials said an executive order to be issued by Obama would also apply to U.S. citizens who engaged in activity deemed a threat to Yemen's security or political stability, the report said.

The order does not include a list of names or organizations already determined to be in violation, the report said. One official said it was designed as a "deterrent" to "make clear to those who are even thinking of spoiling the transition" to think again, the Post reported.

The official was authorized to discuss the order on the condition of anonymity, the report said.

Washington has stepped up its drone attacks in Yemen since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February amid an al Qaeda-fuelled rebellion in the south, and the Pentagon said this week it had recently resumed sending military trainers into the Gulf Arab country.

Washington backed a power transfer plan that made Hadi the successor to President Ali Abdullah Saleh after a year of mass protests which coincided with a split in the army that threatened to erupt into civil war.

The deal stipulates the new president should lead Yemen through a two-year period in the hope that the impoverished nation will be able to use that time to end political chaos.

(Reporting By John Crawley; Editing by Paul Simao)