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Biden's national security adviser says designating Houthis 'terrorists' impedes diplomacy

Nominated National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan participates as US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet announcement event in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24, 2020. - US President-elect Joe Biden introduced November 24, 2020 a seasoned national security team he said was prepared to resume US leadership of the world after the departure of President Donald Trump. "It's a team that will keep our country and our people safe and secure," Biden said, introducing his picks for secretary of state, national security advisor, intelligence chief, and other key cabinet jobs"It's a team that reflects the fact that America is back. Ready to lead the world, not retreat from it," Biden said. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)
Nominated National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan participates as US President-elect Joe Biden speaks during a cabinet announcement event in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 24, 2020 [CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images]

US President-elect Joe Biden's appointee as National Security Advisor has said that the Trump administration's plan to designate the Houthis in Yemen as a foreign terrorist group will impede diplomacy crucial to ending the war in the country.

"Houthi commanders need to be held accountable," explained Jake Sullivan on Twitter, "but designating the whole organisation will only inflict more suffering on Yemeni people and impede diplomacy critical to end the war."

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he plans to designate the Iran-backed Houthis tomorrow, just a day before the Biden administration takes office. The designation will affect financial transactions with the Houthi authorities, including salaries for medical workers.

The UN, the EU and aid organisations have criticised the plan. They warn of "serious humanitarian and political repercussions."

Congressman Gregory W Meeks, the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and 25 other members of Congress have sent a joint letter to Pompeo asking him to clarify the rationale for his decision. Such a last-minute move, they explained, "will undoubtedly make the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world much worse, and will push thousands of Yemenis into greater danger."

READ: US Syria envoy to leave position when Biden takes office

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