US places sanctions on leader, backer of Yemen's Huthis

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States placed two top figures in Yemen's Huthi rebellion on its sanctions blacklist on Tuesday, following suit after the United Nations approved global sanctions on the two.

The US Treasury Department named Huthi leader Abdul Malik al-Huthi, and leading backer Ahmed Ali Saleh, son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, to its blacklist, freezing any assets they might have on US property and forbidding Americans from dealings with them.

"Using violence and other means, Al-Huthi and Saleh continue to undermine the political process in Yemen and obstruct the peaceful transition of power," the Treasury said.

It said that the international community has stressed through the UN Security Council's action "that the violent takeover of Yemen by an armed faction is unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition - long sought by the Yemeni people - can be accomplished only through political negotiations and a consensus agreement among all of the parties."

The action follows the move by the UN Security Council earlier on Tuesday slapping an arms embargo on the Huthi rebels and demanding they give up territory seized in an offensive that forced UN-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

The UN move also placed a global travel ban and asset freeze on the two men.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the former Yemeni president until 2011, has been on UN and US sanctions lists since last November.