UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Tuesday imposed an arms embargo on Yemen's Huthi rebels and demanded they immediately pull back from territory seized and instead seek a political settlement.
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Russia abstained from voting but did not veto the resolution, the first formal action taken by the council since a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign to halt the Huthis' advance on March 26.
Drafted by the Gulf countries and Jordan, the resolution demanded that the Shiite Huthis withdraw from Sanaa and all other areas captured during their months-long offensive.
It imposes sanctions on the Huthi rebel leader and a key ally, and slaps an arms embargo on the Huthi leadership and their supporters, a measure that Russia sought to extend to all sides in the conflict.
Yemen's Ambassador Khaled Khaled Hussein Alyemany described the resolution as "a very clear message to the Huthis that they should abide by international law, stop their coup and return the kidnapped state to the legitimate government of Yemen."
Saudi Arabia launched the air strikes at the request of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, considered the legitimate head of state by the United Nations.
Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia as the Huthis marched on Aden, the southern city that had become his stronghold after he fled Sanaa.
The vote at the Security Council came amid mounting alarm over the civilian toll from the air campaign and reports from aid agencies that they are unable to reach those in need.
More than 600 people have died and 2,000 were injured in the fighting that threatens to turn into a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran.
Saudi Ambassador Abdallah al-Mouallimi said the measure sent a message to Iran that "their meddling is unacceptable" and warned that the air campaign would continue until the Huthis withdrew.
"If they are not complying, they will continue to face more of the same," the ambassador told reporters.
Mouallimi described the adopted resolution as a "clear endorsement of the objectives and of the scope and of the methods" of the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.
But Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin stressed in his remarks that a return to political talks was a priority.
"The adopted resolution should not be used for a further escalation of the armed conflict, which would have most difficult consequences for Yemen itself as well as the whole region," Churkin said.
"There is no alternative to a political solution to the conflict in Yemen."
Russia had demanded humanitarian pauses in Yemen but the resolution fell short of that request and instead instructed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to intensify efforts to negotiate such ceasefires.
The measure put Huthi leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi and ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh's eldest son, Ahmed, on a sanctions list, imposing a global travel ban and an assets freeze on the two men.
In the leadup to the vote, Gulf countries had held weeks of difficult negotiations with Russia, which has friendly relations with Iran, the Huthis' ally.