Yemen’s Houthis will not abandon peace efforts over US appointment, chief negotiator says By Reuters

2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Mohamed Abdulsalam, spokesman for the Houthi movement, looks on before a meeting with UN Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed in Sanaa, Yemen 2/2

By Aziz El Yaakoubi DUBAI (Reuters) – Yemen’s Houthi movement will not abandon peace talks with the United Nations and Saudi Arabia despite the United States’ decision to designate the group aligned with Iran as a foreign terrorist organization, he told Reuters the Houthi chief negotiator. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the designation, which will trigger sanctions against the movement and three of its leaders, will take effect on January 19 at the end of the Trump administration’s term. “These (peace talks) have nothing to do with the (US) decision that it will not limit our movements or our international relations,” Mohammed Abdulsalam said Thursday, adding that this applies to both UN efforts and to the ceasefire talks with Riyadh. “We will not stop our efforts to achieve peace in Yemen … it is our responsibility to speak up, end the war and the blockade,” said Abdulsalam, who is also a Houthi spokesman. Earlier on Thursday, three top United Nations officials called on the United States to reverse its move against the Houthis, warning that it would push Yemen into full-scale famine and chill peace efforts. UN envoy Martin Griffiths, who has been leading efforts to restart negotiations last held in December 2018 to end the conflict, told the Security Council that the US move could have “a chilling effect. “in efforts to unite the parties and that it should be repealed on humanitarian grounds. gardens. The United Nations warned that blacklisting the Houthis, who control Yemen’s most populated areas, could lead Yemen to famine on a scale the world has not seen in decades. “The decision will have no political or military impact, except that it will worsen the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which is already blocked,” Abdulsalam said. The Saudi-led military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 against the Houthis after they ousted the internationally recognized government from power in the capital, Sanaa, has imposed strict measures on imports into Yemen. Saudi Arabia, which has been targeted by cross-border Houthi missiles and drones, has welcomed the US decision to blacklist the Houthis, saying it would “neutralize” the threat posed by the group by depriving it of weapons and funds. and that he would bring it. back to the negotiating table. 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. The conflict is widely seen in the region as an indirect war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis deny being Tehran’s puppets and say they are fighting a corrupt system. Riyadh began talks with the Houthis last year in its search for a way out of the costly and unpopular conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people and left 80% of Yemen’s population dependent on aid and millions of people are face hunger. Abdulsalam said that any agreement on a national ceasefire should include “humanitarian solutions” that allow the importation of fuel, the reopening of airports and ports and “lead to political talks.”

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