US mulls revoking terrorist status of Houthis in wake of famine
WASHINGTON (US) – In the wake of the brewing humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the US said on Friday that it is mulling revoking the terrorist status of the Houthi movement in that country, reversing one of the decisions of the previous Trump administration.
This comes a day after President Joe Biden declared a halt to support for the Saudi-led coalition which is waging a counteroffensive against the Houthis. This is viewed as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration, which the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have since made clear would accelerate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” said a US official.
As per the UN estimates, Yemen is facing the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world and 80% of its population is in need.
“We welcome the stated intention by the U.S. administration to revoke the designation as it will provide profound relief to millions of Yemenis who rely on humanitarian assistance and commercial imports to meet their basic survival needs,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
A day before Biden assumed office, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had blacklisted the Houthis.
However, a US State Department official said the action did not reflect the official view regarding the Houthis and their “reprehensible conduct.”
The decision of the administration was hailed by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. “The designation … stopped food and other critical aid from being delivered inside Yemen and would have prevented effective political negotiation,” he said in a statement.