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UN calls on the US to reverse Terrorism Designation of Houthi Rebels

by Mustapha Olamide
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The united states must cancel its decision to classify Yemen’s Huthi rebels as “terrorists” to avoid the danger of a famine not seen for many years , a senior United Nations official told the security Council on Thursday.

“What is the likely humanitarian impact? the solution may be a large-scale famine on a scale that we’ve not seen for nearly 40 years,” said Mark Lowcock, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs.

“Would licences and exemptions for aid agencies prevent that? the answer is no. What would prevent it? A reversal of the choice . “UN Yemen mediator 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 that there’ll be inevitably 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 famine in Yemen and will be revoked supported humanitarian grounds at the earliest opportunity.”The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need of aid.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move against the Iran-aligned Houthis on Sunday. it’ll get effect on Jan 19, the last full day in office of President Donald Trump’s administration.

President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Jan 20. The designation might be revoked by Biden’s administration.“We are struggling now without the designation. With the designation, it’s getting to be catastrophic. It literally goes to be a death sentence to many thousands, if not many innocent people in Yemen,” said Beasley, a former governor of South Carolina.

“This designation – it must be reassessed, it must be reevaluated. And quite frankly, it must be reversed,” he said.While the United Nations and aid groups help a few third of Yemen’s 28 million people, Lowcock stressed commercial imports are key to making sure millions more have access to food.

He said a US decide to issue licenses and exemptions to permit aid agencies to continue working won’t prevent a famine in Yemen, which relies almost solely on imports.“Aid agencies cannot – they simply cannot – replace the commercial import system,” said Lowcock, warning the US decision would push Yemen into a “famine on a scale that we’ve not seen for nearly 40 years.”

“What would prevent it? A reversal of the (US) decision,” he said.The designation freezes any US-related assets of the Houthis, bans Americans from doing business with them and makes it a criminal offense to supply support or resources to the movement.

Beasley also raised the alarm on a huge shortfall in aid funding for Yemen. He called on “the Gulf states, the Saudis to select up the financial tab for the requirements inside Yemen because the requirements in other parts of the planet are so great.”

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