UNITED NATIONS, Feb 13 (APP):The United Nations has welcomed as “extremely positive” United States’ decision to revoke the designation of Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist group effective Feb. 16, expressing hope it would pave the way for a political solution.
“What we have seen in terms of words and acts from the US, I think, has been extremely positive.
We hope that helps build momentum for a political solution to the conflict in Yemen,” the UN Secretary-General’s Spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said on Friday in response to a question about the reversal by the Biden administration of Trump administration’s action against the Houthis.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called President Joe Biden’s decision to rescind the designation “a recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.”
Yemen, the Arab world’s most impoverished nation, has been riven by conflict since 2015, when fighting erupted between a Saudi-backed coalition supporting the internationally-recognized Government and the Houthi rebel group known formally as Ansar Allah.
Making the announcement, Blinken said by revoking the terrorist designations against the Houthis, “we hope the Yemeni parties can also focus on engaging in dialogue.”
Yemen imports 90% of its food, nearly all purchased through commercial channels, and U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock warned last month that U.S. designation of the Houthis already had companies pulling back from dealing with the Yemenis and would likely lead to “a large-scale famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly 40 years.”
Blinken’s announcement followed a phone conversation Thursday with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, where Yemen was one of the issues they discussed.
“I think the reversal of the designation, the naming of the (U.S.) special envoy (for Yemen), and the clear, clear language from the top of the administration, from president Biden himself, expressing his strong support for the U.N.-led mediation process … are very, very welcome indeed,” the UN Spokesman said.