The United States will no longer label the Yemeni Houthis a terrorist organization, a response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen that is undoing one of the most criticized last-minute decisions of the Donald Trump administration.
The move, confirmed on Friday by a State Department official, comes a day after President Joe Biden declared the end of United States support for Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, widely known as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the Iran is viewed.
“Our action is entirely due to the humanitarian ramifications of this short-term determination by the previous administration, which the United Nations and humanitarian agencies have clarified in order to accelerate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” an official American source said.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, chairman of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, told Al Mayadeen TV that the group had heard the latest statements from the US government about Yemen but had not seen anything.
The United Nations describes Yemen as the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world. 80% of the 24 million inhabitants need support to survive.
Last month the United Nations warned that new sanctions would put Yemen into a famine unprecedented in 40 years. Hunger has never been officially declared, but indicators have worsened across the country.
“We welcome the US government’s intention to revoke the designation [dos houthi como grupo terrorista]This will bring profound relief to millions of Yemenis who rely on humanitarian aid and commercial imports to meet their basic survival needs, ”said Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blacklisted the Houthi on January 19, the day before Joe Biden took office.
When the Trump administration declared the Houthi a terrorist group, it liberated the United Nations, the Red Cross and exports of agricultural goods, medicines and other medical supplies, but humanitarian aid groups warned the move would have serious consequences for the country .
The reversal of the measure was therefore very much welcomed by the humanitarian aid groups operating in Yemen.
“It is a sigh of relief and a victory for the Yemeni people, as well as a strong US message that puts Yemeni interests first,” said Mohamed Abdi, director of the Norwegian Refugee Council, and asked the Biden administration to make efforts for one Immediate armistice across the country.
The US State Department stressed that its decision did not reflect the United States’ view of the “reprehensible behavior” of the Houthi, who were accused of various atrocities against civilians during the 2015 civil war.
Welcoming the State Department’s announcement, Senator Chris Murphy, of the Senate International Relations Committee, recalled that Donald Trump’s move “prevented food and other essential relief supplies from reaching Yemen” in the final days of his term, and stressed that the Houthi did continuing as a terrorist organization would “impede effective political negotiations”.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support Iranian-allied government forces against the Houthi. The war over the past six years has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths in the country and millions of displaced persons.
The United Nations has tried to resume peace negotiations while the country is also facing a deep economic crisis and enormous difficulties in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its annual report released last January, Human Rights Watch accused both sides of the conflict in Yemen of violating the war laws and attacking areas densely populated by civilians with mortars and missiles.