The United Nations on Friday welcomed Washington’s plan to revoke a US terrorist designation for Yemen’s Houthi group “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.
The move, confirmed by a State Department official on Friday, came a day after President Joe Biden declared a halt to US support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, which is widely seen as a proxy conflict 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,” the official said.
The UN describes Yemen as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.
Last month the UN’s aid chief warned the new sanctions would push Yemen into a famine on a scale not seen for nearly 40 years. Famine has never been officially declared but indicators have deteriorated across the country.
“We welcome the stated intention by the US 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,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blacklisted the Houthis on Jan. 19, one day before Biden took office.