People queue to collect food rations at a food distribution center in Sanaa, Yemen. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 20 November 2021
ARAB NEWS November 20, 2021
US threatens to blacklist Houthis as part of its ‘maximum pressure’ campaign against Iran UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that war-torn Yemen “is now in imminent danger of the worst famine the world has seen for decades.”
Guterres warning comes as the United States threatens to blacklist Yemen’s Iran-allied Houthi militia as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. Aid workers have raised fears such a move would prevent life-saving aid reaching the country.
“I urge all those with influence to act urgently on these issues to stave off catastrophe, and I also request that everyone avoids taking any action that could make the already dire situation even worse,” Guterres said in a statement.
An Arab coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Houthis. UN officials are trying to revive peace talks to end the war as the country’s suffering is also worsened by an economic and currency collapse and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the absence of immediate action, millions of lives may be lost,” Guterres said.
The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of the people in need of help.
A senior Western diplomat said a designation of the Houthis by the United States designated the Houthis “would certainly not contribute to progress on Yemen.” “It’s likely that they want to do whatever it takes to increase the pressure on Iran,” said the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
UN aid chief Mark Lowcock has said the United Nations has received less than half of what it needed this year — about $1.5 billion — for its humanitarian operations in Yemen. Last year it received $3 billion.
The Human Rights Office in Sanaa said the Houthi militia committed more than 24,000 violations against children, including murder, kidnapping and recruitment, Al Arabiya reported.
“We call on the international community to protect the children of Yemen from Houthi violations,” the office said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber said that the Kingdom will resume its consular work at the embassy after a suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ambassador said in a tweet that the move was part of the Kingdom’s initiatives to support the Yemeni people in all governorates to provide them with job opportunities.
Al-Jaber also said that from mid-2018 up until the COVID-19 pandemic, the embassy issued more than 135,000 work visas, which have helped them “take care of their families in Yemen and transfer hard currency to support the Yemeni economy.”