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File photo: Al Houthi rebels in Yemen. Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The legitimate Yemeni government warned on Sunday evening of the consequences of withdrawing the designation of the Houthi militia as a terrorist organisation.

In a press statement, Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Al Eryani said it would would represent a “free gift” to Iran, strengthen its subversive policies in the region and threaten international interests.

Al Eryani said that hinting at the possibility of Washington reversing the designation of the Houthi militia as a terrorist organisation sends the wrong signals to the Houthis, and Iran,, to continue their escalatory approach and their crimes and violations against civilians, the policies of spreading chaos and terrorism in the region, and challenging the will of the international community in ending the war and bringing about a just and comprehensive peace.

Al Eryani was speaking after the US moved to delist Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a terrorist organisation, saying it was removing a block that humanitarian groups said jeopardised crucial aid.

A State Department spokesperson said Friday they had “formally notified Congress” of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s intent to revoke the terrorist designations.

The move, which will take effect shortly, comes a day after US President Joe Biden announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.

“This decision has nothing to do with our view of the Al Houthis and their reprehensible conduct, including attacks against civilians and the kidnapping of American citizens,” the spokesperson said.

“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration,” the spokesperson said, adding the US remained committed to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory against attacks by the rebels.

The Yemeni Minister of Information explained that “parties and international organisations pressed to stop the military operations to liberate the city of Hodeidah under the pretext of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions, and the government responded to affirm its concern for peace, and participated in the Stockholm negotiations that resulted in an agreement to remove the Al Houthi militia from Hodeidah, exchange all prisoners and kidnappers and lift the siege on Taiz Governorate.”

Al Eryani added, “After two years of the agreement, nothing was achieved. Al Houthi militia continued to target civilians, villages, homes and farms with missiles and snipers, planting mines and improvised explosive devices, and disrupted negotiations to open relief crossings, exchanging all prisoners and kidnappers, escalated their military operations, and the humanitarian situation worsened.”

Al Eryani pointed out that “the same thing happened when the National Army approached the capital, Sana’a, on the two fronts of Nehm and Sarwah, and the international community intervened to stop the army’s advance and pledged to hold talks to reach a comprehensive and sustainable political solution. It turned out that the matter was nothing but a Houthi-Iranian maneuver to gain time and re-arrange their ranks and escalate their military operations again.”

The Yemeni Minister of Information expressed his regret, “for such trends, while the scenes of Iranian Al Houthi missiles targeting Aden airport are still fresh in minds, and they are still falling on the heads of civilians in Marib and Taiz, and their shells and snipers are claiming the lives of women and children, and hundreds of politicians and activists are absent in their detention centers, and their drones are attacking neighboring countries.”

Al Eryani said, “these facts confirm that canceling the classification will contribute to complicating the Yemeni crisis, prolonging the coup, and exacerbate the human suffering resulting from the war triggered by the Al Houthis, and make peace out of the reach of the Yemenis, and it will represent a free gift to the Tehran regime, strengthening its subversive policies in the region and threatening international interests.”

He affirmed that the issuance of a decision in this direction “would represent a great disappointment to the Yemeni people.”