UN Security Council urges unity in new Yemen government

Yemeni activists with tape over their mouths carry placards during a rally in Sanaa, on November 8, 2014, against the control by Shiite Huthi fighters of the country's main cities (AFP Photo/Mohammed Huwais)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United Nations Security Council urged political forces in Yemen to unite Saturday, as serious ruptures appeared in the impoverished nation's nascent cabinet.

Yemen announced Friday a new 36-member government under a UN-brokered peace deal agreed when Shiite Huthi rebels seized the capital on September 21.

But on Saturday, Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected Security Council sanctions imposed on him for obstructing peace -- and his party walked out of the newly formed cabinet.

Security Council members "expressed their support to President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and encouraged all parties to participate peacefully and constructively in taking forward this transition," the Council said in a statement.

"The members of the Security Council underscored the importance of moving forward with an inclusive transition process that represents all of Yemen's diverse communities."

Saleh is seen as the main backer of Huthi rebels who seized Sanaa unopposed, and have since expanded their control to coastal areas and regions to the south.

On November 1, the main political parties signed a new agreement, sponsored by UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, for the formation of a government of technocrats.

Yemen has been dogged by instability since an Arab Spring-inspired uprising forced Saleh from power, with the rebels and Al-Qaeda seeking to fill the power vacuum in the impoverished country.