Washington will remove designations of Yemen’s popular Ansarullah movement from the list of foreign terrorist organizations on February 16, the US state secretary said.
“This decision is a recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen,” Antony Blinken said in a statement issued on Friday, reversing a last-minute designation by former President Donald Trump.
However, the top US diplomat threatened to impose more sanctions on members of the resistance group, saying the US would “closely monitor” the movement’s activities and is “actively identifying” new sanctions targets.
“We will continue to closely monitor the activities of Ansarallah and its leaders and are actively identifying additional targets for designation,” he said.
Blinken claimed that Ansarullah fighters were responsible for attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia.
The Trump administration had branded the movement as a foreign terrorist organization, imposing the specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) and foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designations.
Trump took the action on his last full day in office despite warnings by other governments, aid groups and the United Nations that the US sanctions could push Yemen into a major famine.
Two sources familiar with the matter said last week the State Department had formally notified Congress of its plan to delist the Houthi movement.
The decision came days after the Biden administration announced an end to American support for the Saudi war on Yemen, including a freeze on arms sales to the Riyadh regime.
Critics of the Trump administration action had said that the designation would bring more pain to millions of starving people in Yemen.
Scott Paul, Oxfam America’s policy advocacy director said, “This purely counterproductive designation had caused months of uncertainty as aid organizations, banks, and importers of critical commodities like food and fuel were left in limbo.”
On January 11, nine days before Biden was sworn into office, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced President Trump’s intent to designate Yemen’s Ansarullah movement as terrorist.
The Trump administration’s last-minute “terrorist” designation appeared to be a desperate attempt to step up pressure on the popular movement after the Saudi regime failed to fulfill the objectives of over five years of war on Yemen, despite all the support it had received from the US and other Western states.
The popular Ansarullah movement, backed by the Yemeni armed forces and allied popular groups, has gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and successfully defended Yemen, leaving Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the county.
Trump had long overlooked and defended the Saudi-led coalition’s acts of aggression in Yemen in favor of lucrative arms sales to the regime in Riyadh. — Tasnim News Agency
Source: National News Agency