Tanks, border guards and artillery moved to area adjacent to Houthi stronghold after mortars kill three Saudi troops.
Yemen’s Houthi fighters have condemned a UN Security Council resolution imposing an arms embargo on the group, saying the decision supported “aggression”.
In a news flash on the group’s official television channel on Tuesday, the Houthis’ governing body, the Supreme Revolutionary Committee, said it “calls on the masses of the Yemeni people to rally and protest on Thursday to condemn the Security Council resolution in support of the aggression”.
The Security Council resolution, passed earlier on Tuesday, also calls on the Houthis to withdraw from areas they have seized, including the capital Sanaa.
The 15-member council passed the resolution with 14 countries voting in favour while one – Russia – abstained.
Russia, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, said the embargo should have been imposed on the whole country.
|Jordan’s ambassador to the UN discusses the arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthis|
Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said the resolution was not fully in line with the requirements which were put forward to the international community.
“The adopted resolution should not be used for further escalation of the armed conflict which could have the most difficult consequences for Yemen itself as well as the whole region,” he said.
“There is no alternative to a political solution to the conflict in Yemen.”
Churkin said Russia’s “constructive proposals” were not taken into account during the drafting of the resolution, the second passed on Yemen this year. The first was passed in February.
Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, said her country strongly supported the resolution as it “shows that the Security Council will take action against those who continue to undermine the efforts to the reconciliation”.
She also said that “a legitimate transition in Yemen can only be achieved through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all political parties based on the [Gulf Cooperation Council] GCC initiative and the outcomes of Yemen’s national dialogue conference”.
Saleh’s son blacklisted
Among other things, the resolution blacklisted the son of the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh – Ahmed – as well as the top Houthi leader, Abdulmalik al-Houthi.
They will face a global asset freeze and travel ban.
Saleh and two other senior Houthi leaders – Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim – were blacklisted by the Security Council in November.
Yemeni soldiers loyal to Saleh are fighting alongside the Shia Houthis.
The Houthis have severely criticised the resolution, Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from Jizan in Saudi Arabia, said.
‘They think it is is partial and that it was adopted only to support Saudi Arabia, rather than as an attempt to mitigate the conflict and try to find a solution,” he said.
“The Houthis feel cornered, not just militarily but also politically.”
The resolution, put forward by Jordan and Gulf Arab countries, came as the Saudi-led coalition pressed ahead with air strikes on Houthi positions, now nearly into their third week.
The coalition, consisting mainly of four Gulf countries, launched the strikes on March 26 and is backed by the US, which said last week it was speeding up arms supplies to the alliance.
Houthi fighters – widely believed to be backed by Iran – swept into Sanaa in September and have since tried to expand their control across Yemen, which is also battling al-Qaeda’s local branch, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The Houthis put President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi under house arrest in February, demanding he carry out political reforms.
Hadi has since fled to Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia, which says it launched the air strikes against the Houthis to help defend a “legitimate authority” and has rejected Iran’s calls to halt the bombardment.
Iran on Monday urged the formation of a new Yemeni government and offered to assist in a political transition, as fighting between forces loyal to Hadi and the Houthis raged in Sanaa and the southern city of Aden.
The Saudi military is boosting security along the Yemeni border, moving in tanks, artillery units and border guards to counter the threat posed by Houthi fighters.