US warns Yemen's Houthi militants against attacks on civilians

Filed on February 8, 2021
Houthi rebels during a protest against the US in Sanaa in January. — AP file

The Biden administration says the US is deeply troubled by continued Houthi attacks, after Saudi Arabia endorsed a negotiated settlement

The Biden administration on Sunday warned Yemen’s Houthi rebels against ongoing attacks against civilians just 48 hours after moving to strike the group from a terrorism blacklist.

The State Department called on the Iran-backed rebel group to immediately stop attacks on civilians and new military operations in Yemen. The demand came only two days after the administration notified Congress that it would remove the Houthis from its list of “foreign terrorist organisations,” a designation that comes with severe US sanctions.

Also read: Houthi-armed drone attack thwarted by Saudi-led coalition

Saudi Arabia welcomes Biden's commitment to help Kingdom

“As the president is taking steps to end the war in Yemen and Saudi Arabia has endorsed a negotiated settlement, the US is deeply troubled by continued Houthi attacks,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks impacting civilian areas inside Saudi Arabia and to halt any new military offensives inside Yemen, which only bring more suffering to the Yemeni people.”

Earlier on Sunday, the UN special envoy for Yemen arrived on his first visit to Iran for talks on the grinding war. Martin Griffiths was set to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and other officials during his two-day visit, his office said. The sessions are part of a broader effort to negotiate a political solution to the nearly six-year conflict pitting the Houthis against Yemeni government forces.

“We urge the Houthis to refrain from destabilising actions and demonstrate their commitment to constructively engage in UN Special Envoy Griffiths’ efforts to achieve peace,” Price said in the statement. “The time is now to find an end to this conflict.”

Yemen’s war began in September 2014, when the Houthis seized the capital Sanaa and began a march south to try to seize the entire country.

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