U.S. State Dept says working to conclude Houthi terrorist designation review

U.S. State Dept says working to conclude Houthi terrorist designation review

The Treasury Department in a notice said that all transactions with the group will be authorized through February 26 at 12:01 am (0401 GMT).

The United Nations says the situation in Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blacklisted the Houthis last Tuesday - a day before President Joe Biden took office - despite warnings from the United Nations and aid groups that it would push Yemen into a large-scale starvation.

Treasury's license does not reverse Pompeo's designations and does not apply to specific members of the Houthi group who have been otherwise sanctioned.

A group of 22 groups, including the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam and Save the Children, warned Sunday of a "potentially catastrophic humanitarian impact" and said the designation should be "revoked immediately".

"This designation comes at a time when starvation is a very real threat to a country devastated by six years of conflict, and it must be revoked immediately".

A Houthi supporter looks on as he carries a weapon during a gathering in Sanaa, Yemen, April 2, 2020.

The kingdom has come under repeated attack from Yemen's Iran-backed Huthi rebels since 2015.

Most of Yemen's 30 million people rely on global aid to survive.

The lack of a coherent strategy among anti-Houthi forces, demonstrated by infighting within them, and disagreements between their regional backers, has served to strengthen the Houthis, the experts said.

"As we work to de-escalate tensions in the region through principled diplomacy, including by bringing an end to the war in Yemen, we will also help our partner Saudi Arabia defend against attacks on its territory and hold those who attempt to undermine stability to account", it said in a statement.

The U.S. designation move was part of the Trump administration's broader effort to isolate and cripple Iran.

Saudi Arabia has advocated the terror designation, hoping it would pressure the rebels to reach a peace deal.

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