Senior UN Officials Urge US To Revoke Yemen’s Houthis Blacklist, Warn Of Famine

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Yemen Prisoner Exchange Agreement Meeting in Glion

By Michelle Nichols NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three top United Nations officials on Thursday called on the United States to reverse its decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization, warning that it would push the country into full-scale famine and chill the peace. efforts. UN Yemen Ombudsman Martin Griffiths, UN Aid Chief Mark Lowcock, and UN Food Chief David Beasley issued their warnings during a UN Security Council meeting on Yemen. “We fear there will inevitably be a chilling effect on my efforts to bring the parties together,” Griffiths told the 15-member body. “The decision will contribute to the prospect of a famine in Yemen and should be reversed on humanitarian grounds as soon as possible.” The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of people in need of help. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Sunday the measure against the Houthis aligned with Iran. It will take effect on January 19, the last full day in office of President Donald Trump‘s administration. President-elect Joe Biden will take office on January 20. The designation could be revoked by the Biden administration. “We are fighting now without the designation. With the designation, it is going to be catastrophic. It is literally going to be a death sentence for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of innocent people in Yemen,” said Beasley, a former governor of Yemen. South Carolina. “This designation needs to be reevaluated, it needs to be reevaluated. And frankly, it needs to be reversed,” he said. While the United Nations and aid groups help about a third of Yemen’s 28 million people, Lowcock stressed that commercial imports are key to ensuring millions more have access to food. He said a US plan to issue licenses and waivers to allow aid agencies to continue working will not prevent a famine in Yemen, which relies almost exclusively on imports. “Aid agencies can’t, they just can’t, replace the commercial import system,” Lowcock said, warning that the US decision would push Yemen into “famine on a scale we haven’t seen in nearly 40 years.” “What would prevent it? A reversal of the (US) decision,” he said. The designation freezes all Houthi assets related to the United States, prohibits Americans from doing business with them, and makes it a crime to provide support or resources to the movement. Beasley also raised the alarm about a massive shortfall in aid funding for Yemen. He called on “the Gulf states, the Saudis, to pay the financial bill for the needs within Yemen because the needs in other parts of the world are so great.”

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