The US designation of Ansar Allah as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, risks rendering UN-led efforts in Yemen for a comprehensive solution. It will complicate, in addition to the designation of three of its leaders, the necessary diplomatic engagement with Ansar Allah. Also the work of the international community on political, humanitarian and developmental matters.
The EU is particularly concerned about the impact of this decision on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, currently facing an imminent risk of widespread famine. The designation is likely to have disruptive effects on the delivery of humanitarian aid funded by the international community and further aggravate the economic crisis which has resulted from over five years of conflict.
The EU remains convinced that only an inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen and will continue to promote dialogue among all parties. In coordination with the international community, the EU stands ready to support efforts that mitigate the impact of the designation on the delivery of aid and on the economy, with a particular attention to the functionality of the private sector.
United Nations response to US terrorist designation
Senior UN officials have expressed concern over the potential impact of the decision by the United States to designate Yemen’s Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthi movement, a terrorist group, the Security Council heard on Thursday.
Briefing the online meeting, UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths said Yemen was going through dark times following a deadly attack last month on its newly-formed Cabinet, and with millions facing potential famine, but emphasized that peace is still possible.
Mr. Griffiths condemned the 30 December attack at the airport in Aden, which targeted the Government officials who had just arrived from Saudi Arabia. Dozens of civilians, aid workers and a journalist were also killed.“The attack cast a dark shadow over what should have been a moment of hope in the efforts to achieve peace in Yemen. The formation of the Cabinet and its return to Aden was a major milestone for the Riyadh Agreement and for the stability of state institutions, the economy, and the peace process”, he said.
The Government has launched an investigation into the Aden attack and has made its conclusions public earlier today that Ansar Allah was behind the attack.
‘Chilling effect’ on peace efforts
For more than five years, Yemen has been mired in conflict between the internationally-recognized Government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi rebels. On Sunday, the United States announced it will designate the group a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under domestic law. Mr. Griffiths expressed serious concern over this prospect.
“We fear in my mission that there will be inevitably a chilling effect on my efforts to bring the parties together. We all hope to have absolute clarity on far-reaching exemptions to be able to carry out our duties”, he said.
Yemen remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Some 16 million people will go hungry this year, and 50,000 are already essentially starving to death, amid a shortfall in aid. Preventing a massive famine is the most urgent priority, the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief and Emergency Coordinator told ambassadors.