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US terror label on Houthis may have negative effect

Russian Foreign Minister hopes US move will not affect political settlement in Yemen

Dmitri Chirciu   | 14.01.2021
US terror label on Houthis may have negative effect

MOSCOW

The US decision to declare Houthis rebels, who fought the central government in Yemen’s civil, a "terrorist organization" could negatively affect the political process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

Lavrov said he hopes the move does not affect the political settlement in Yemen and he welcomed the formation of a new government in Yemen.

He spoke at a news conference after meeting his Saudi Arabian counterpart Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and voiced support for UN initiatives to establish dialogue with the armed Ansarullah organization regarding political issues.

The Russian diplomat also said some wanted to prevent talks as he cited last month’s missile attack that targeted the Aden Airport as a plane carrying the new Yemeni government arrived.

“I do not want the political process to be effected negatively from this decision but many of us, including UN representatives, are expressing fears that a negative effect may appear," he said.

The Houthis constantly axe solution process

Bin Farhan Al Saud said the US decision would not have any more negative repercussions than action by Houthi rebels in Yemen.

“The Houthis constantly axe the solution process,” he said. “Their actions are supported by Iran. Foreign powers, including Iran, are sending weapons, including ballistic missiles, to the Houthis in Yemen.”

The top Saudi diplomat said his country supports UN attempts to solve the Yemen crisis and Ansarullah's participation in talks could contribute to the political process.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced plans last Sunday to designate Houthi rebels as a terror organization and mark three leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.

The crisis escalated in 2015 when the Saudi-led coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the conflict has claimed 233,000 lives.

*Writing and contribution by Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak in Ankara

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