International community faces growing pressure to declare Houthis terrorists
AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s internationally recognized government has backed Saudi Arabia’s call for the international community to designate the Iran-backed Houthi movement as a terrorist organization, which it says should be punished for obstructing peace initiatives.
The government has said that since the Houthis took control of the country by force in late 2014, they have rejected all efforts to end the war in the country, including a plan proposed by Saudi Arabia. last year.
This month, the group refused to renew a UN-brokered truce that had been in place for six months. They laid thousands of landmines, ruthlessly suppressed the inhabitants of areas under their control and abducted hundreds of Yemeni citizens, including women.
“The Houthi militias have caused the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, in addition to millions of deaths, injuries and displacements, and have committed war crimes and gross human rights violations. They should be promptly classified as terrorist organizations,” the Yemeni government said in a statement carried by SABA, Yemen’s official news agency.
On Tuesday, the Saudi cabinet reiterated its support for the international community‘s efforts to bring peace to Yemen and urged the world to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization and take steps to cut off its sources of funding.
In Yemen, government officials and others who support the call for a terrorist designation argue that the international community, having exhausted all other options in efforts to persuade the Houthis to embrace peace, should be more aware than ever of the true nature of the group due to their refusal to renew the truce.
The potential effects such a designation would have on Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and aid distribution is the only thing stopping the world from designating the Houthis as terrorists, they said.
Najeeb Ghallab, undersecretary in Yemen’s information ministry, told Arab News that the international community, and the UN in particular, should strive to use the terrorist designation to motivate the Houthis to actively engage and comply with efforts to end the conflict.
“To convince the Houthis to accept peace, the international community must exert significant pressure – and the designation will be a powerful instrument of pressure,” he said.
As long as the Houthis continue to refuse to accept peace offers and work to end the conflict, the humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen will only get worse, Ghallab added.
“Weakening and pushing this movement to embrace peace will help alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which the Houthis are exploiting and fueling,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Yemeni government has joined other nations in urging the Houthis to release Yemeni US embassy and UN staff who were abducted in Sanaa a year ago.
Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Eryani said the abductions are further proof that the Houthis are “terrorists” who disregard diplomatic rules and norms that prevent them from targeting these employees.
“Looting foreign embassies, detaining employees of diplomatic missions and using them as instruments of blackmail are only practices of foreign terrorists and do not reflect the Yemeni people, who value brothers and friends,” he said.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday called for the release of 12 US and UN workers who were taken from the US Embassy in Sanaa as he spoke out against the actions of the Houthis.
“I call on the Houthis to release these Yemeni citizens and return them to their families as a sign of their commitment to peace for the Yemeni people and their willingness to participate in a future government that upholds the rule of law.” , did he declare.
The EU mission in Yemen made a similar request, in a message posted on Twitter: “The EU reiterates its call on the Houthis to release all detained employees of the US Embassy and the ‘UN. Their release would send an important message of commitment to peace.