U.N. urges Yemen to have peaceful elections

Anti-government protesters demand the trial for Yemen's outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, on January 16, 2012.

Story highlights

  • The U.N. Security Council said it "welcomed" Yemen's progress in a political transition
  • The council said it is concerned about the security situation in Yemen
  • Yemen's president has agreed to step down
  • Elections are scheduled for February
The U.N. Security Council urged Yemen to have "credible, non-violent and peaceful elections " but said it is "gravely concerned by the humanitarian situation" in the Middle East country.
In a statement released Wednesday the council said it "welcomed the progress that had been made on implementing the political transition" in Yemen,
But along with the worsening humanitarian situation the council voiced "concern at the deteriorating security situation and the increasing presence of Al Qaeda."
Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left Yemen on Sunday and started a trip to the United States to get medical care.
Saleh was wounded in a June bomb attack on his presidential palace. Last year, Saleh signed a Gulf Cooperation Council brokered power transfer deal aimed at ending his country's months-long political crisis.
Last week, lawmakers in Yemen approved a controversial law giving Saleh immunity from prosecution -- a key element of the deal with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
In return, Saleh will step down from power next month after ruling the country for more than 33 years.
Although the deal was hailed by opposition parties in Yemen, youth protesters and international rights groups called the immunity a violation of international law.
Protesters have demonstrated for months, calling for Saleh to step down.
Elections are scheduled for next month in Yemen.