Reuters reported that the United Nations aid official, Martin Lowcock, will urge the United States – today, Thursday – to reverse its intention to classify the Houthi group in Yemen as a “foreign terrorist organization”, warning that this step will lead the country into “famine on a scale not seen for nearly.” 40 years old. “
Lowcock will also say – in a planned statement before the UN Security Council, seen by Reuters – that the United States’ intention to issue exemptions to relief agencies will not prevent famine in Yemen.
The United Nations World Food Program warned Wednesday of “serious consequences” for the United States’ intention to classify the Houthi group as a “terrorist organization.”
The office of the Food Program in Yemen said, through its Twitter account, that “the designation of Al-Houthi as a terrorist group is likely to have dire consequences for the increasing risk of famine in Yemen, and that it could impede relief operations.”
The UN agency stressed that the program “will maintain the continuity of food aid reaching millions in Yemen,” without elaborating.
Waiting for Congress
And the US State Department announced – in a statement on Sunday – its intention to classify the Houthis as a “terrorist organization” and to impose sanctions on its leader, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi, and its leaders: Abdul-Khaliq Al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya Al-Hakim.
And unless Congress rejects this step, the Houthi group will be placed on the US blacklist on January 19, that is, one day before President-elect Joe Biden takes office, succeeding Donald Trump.
Since the end of 2014, the Houthi group – allied with Iran – has controlled the capital, Sanaa, and most of the country’s northern regions, which are home to more than half of Yemen’s population.
In order to facilitate the arrival of aid to those areas, international organizations deal with the Houthis as a “de facto authority,” while the US classification will make them a “terrorist group” and prohibit contact with it.
This classification will also negatively affect the flow of remittances from Yemenis working abroad into the country, which heralds a further deterioration in the humanitarian situation.
For its part, the Supreme Political Council of the Houthi group (which calls itself the “Ansar Allah group”) – yesterday, Wednesday – rejected the US administration’s efforts to place it on the terrorist lists.
The council said in a press statement that “Ansar Allah is a large Yemeni national component, around which all the free people of Yemen are rallying in the battle for sovereignty and independence against aggression (the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen) and the blockade announced by Washington.”
The Council considered this step “bankrupt for the American administration, which is living its last moments, and expresses the confusion and failure of US policy in the region in general.”
The Council warned of the danger of proceeding with this approach, noting that “its repercussions will not affect the humanitarian side in Yemen only, but will also affect the political process.”
Earlier on Monday, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters that “it is clear that the decision will likely have grave humanitarian and political repercussions,” and urged Washington to quickly grant exceptions to ensure that humanitarian aid is not obstructed.
The spokesman added that the United Nations is “concerned that the classification will have a detrimental effect on the efforts aimed at resuming the political process in Yemen, and that it will further polarize the positions of both parties to the conflict.”
In turn, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, warned of the possible classification, saying that Yemen was on the brink of sliding into the worst famine the world had seen in decades.
For his part, Scott Paul, the humanitarian affairs official at the Oxfam Charitable Organization in the United States, appealed to President-elect Joe Biden to cancel this classification as soon as he assumed power, describing the US action as “counter-productive and dangerous.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council also urged the US government – on Monday – to provide “clear protection measures and guarantees” to ensure that sanctions do not impede the delivery of food, fuel and medicine across the country, “in the midst of a complete humanitarian disaster.”
In the same context, the European Union condemned on Tuesday the US classification of the Houthis, saying that this step could make the peace efforts led by the United Nations in the country “more difficult.”
The spokesman for the European Union’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, warned that “the United States’ designation of Ansar Allah as a foreign terrorist organization, and the classification of 3 of its leaders as such, may make the peace efforts led by the United Nations to reach a comprehensive solution to the conflict in Yemen, more difficult. “.
“The European Union is especially concerned about the repercussions of this decision on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which is currently at risk of facing imminent general famine,” the spokesman added.
He added that “the European Union is convinced that only a comprehensive political solution is what can put an end to the conflict in Yemen,” stressing that the bloc “will continue to call for dialogue between all parties.”