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Yemen's Houthis to be removed from US blacklist

Antony Blinken, US secretary of state in Washington, D.C, on February 4, 2021 [Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Antony Blinken, US secretary of state in Washington, DC, on 4 February 2021 [Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg/Getty Images]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced today that he will revoke the designations of Yemen's Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist organisation and a specially designated global terrorist group.

Blinken said in a statement that the United States would "closely monitor" Houthi activities and is "actively identifying" new sanctions targets, especially those responsible for attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia.

The removal of the designations will come into effect 16 February, he explained.

Just two weeks before he was due to step down as President of the US, Donald Trump's administration designated the Houthi movement, known as Ansarallah, as a foreign terrorist group, with the decision coming into effect the day before the inauguration of successor Joe Biden on 20 January.

At the time, human rights groups condemned the move, warning it would further exacerbate the humanitarian crisis civilians face in the war torn country.

READ: Houthis won't stop attacking Saudi until it ends offensive in Yemen

Save the Children argued that it would "directly threaten the supply of lifesaving food, fuel and medicine".

"Humanitarian actors have warned for weeks that the consequences of this decision could be catastrophic for countless children and their families in Yemen who are barely surviving," said Janti Soeripto, the organisation's president and CEO.

A number of former US diplomats and State Department officials also expressed reservations of the move which they said would be "deeply damaging" to US national security.

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Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUSYemen
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