Europe will discuss freezing the assets of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his entourage next week as the bloc tries to make him to stand down in line with a deal brokered by Gulf Arab states, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Monday.
I think asset freezes will be discussed as soon as possible Juppe said after meeting Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakul Karman in Paris.
The matter was on the agenda of next week's foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels next week, he said.
Nine months of anti-government protests have paralysed Yemen, pushing it to the brink of civil war, but failing to dislodge Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years. Saleh has three times agreed to sign the transition deal only to back out at the very last minute.
Karman, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with two Liberian women in October, said the international community had to do more against Saleh and his government which she said continued to let blood flow in her country on a daily basis.
We need more action, she said. We want you to freeze the assets of Saleh and his people and that action is taken at the International Criminal Court as he is a war criminal.
The U.N. Security Council on October 21 condemned the Yemeni government crackdown on protesters and urged the signing of the agreement that would require the president to step down in exchange for immunity. The body offered no details on how accountability could be achieved if there is an immunity deal.
I am ready to discuss with my European colleagues how to ensure the resolution is implemented, but our action would be more efficient if the (Yemen) opposition was more united, Juppe said.
Juppe said that the U.N. resolution would pave the way for an inquiry to see if there were any crimes committed that could be taken to an international court.
(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Louise Ireland)