NEW YORK (Dispatches) – United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric has warned during a briefing that the U.S. intention to brand Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement as a ‘terrorist organization’ is "likely to have serious humanitarian and political repercussions.”
He called on the U.S. to "swiftly grant the necessary licenses and exemptions to ensure that principled humanitarian assistance can continue to reach all people [...] without disruption.”
According to the official, the UN is "concerned that the designation may have a detrimental impact on efforts to resume the political process in Yemen, as well as to polarize even more the positions of the parties to the conflict.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the move against Yemen’s Ansarullah movement will come into effect on January 19 — one day before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, whose aides have hoped to mount a fresh push to end Yemen’s devastating six-year Saudi-led war.
Yemen’s Ansarullah movement slammed the U.S. administration, saying it reserves right to respond to any U.S. move in this regard.
In a twit, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council said "America is the source of terrorism and the Trump administration’s policy and actions are terrorist. We reserve the right to respond to any designation issued by the Trump administration or any administration.”
The Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement denounced the outgoing U.S. administration’s decision, terming it as a criminal act aimed at undermining the Yemeni nation’s morale.
Hezbollah said in a statement late on Monday that Washington is not content with supporting and participating in the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen, and intends to target the Ansarullah movement and three of its leaders, namely Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, with sanctions.
"It is a criminal move that seeks to hurt the morale of Yemenis, who have been resiliently confronting the unfair blockade and aggression,” the statement added. "The United States bears the responsibility for all potential humanitarian and health repercussions.”
The decision to designate Ansarullah as a "terrorist” organization appears to be the Trump administration’s parting shot to the movement, but there are now real fears the decision may have a devastating effect on millions of Yemenis in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
"The designation threatens to further shrink the space and access we need to deliver humanitarian assistance,” said Abeer Etefa, the World Food Programme’s Middle East spokeswoman.
"The humanitarian response does not operate in a vacuum: we work with banks, commercial traders and transporters, who in turn have links to global insurers and so on … Right now, this looks like a worst-case scenario for Yemen. Life has just got harder for millions who are already struggling to survive.”