February 15, 2021
Saudi Arabia will continue to treat Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization regardless of whether the United States decided to designate the group as such, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN said.
“We will still deal with the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization and address its threats with military action,” Abdullah Al-Muallami, told Saudi-owned Asharq News, in remarks shared by the Saudi UN mission on Twitter.
US Secretary of State Anotny Blinken announced on Friday lifting the terrorist group designation, effective February 16, “in recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen.”
Donald Trump’s administration imposed the specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) and foreign terrorist organization (FTO) labels on its last full day in office despite warnings by other governments, aid groups and the United Nations that the sanctions they carried could push Yemen into a major famine.
President Joe Biden, who took office on Jan. 20, has quickly moved to reverse US policy, aiming to ease the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and intensify diplomacy to end Yemen’s civil war.
Biden also announced last week ending US support for the offensive operations of the Arab Coalition which intervened in Yemen 2015.
The Arab Coalition supports the internationally recognized government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi against the Iran-backed Houthis.
“The US administration is in transition with the change in leadership. This was reflected in the US mission at the UN. We understand that. We understand that the next stage will be difficult and decision making will be slow, but cooperation is ongoing,” Al-Muallami said.