The Foreign Ministry’s statements came on the same day that the Houthi terrorist group’s designation was canceled. The United Nations and aid groups welcomed the move by President Joe Biden’s administration, as they feared that the actions of former President Donald Trump would impede aid delivery to the country.
The Yemen war began in 2014 when the Iranian-backed Houthis seized the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north of the country. A Saudi-led coalition backed by the United States intervened months later to drive out the rebels and restore the internationally recognized government. The conflict has killed nearly 130,000 people and resulted in the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
The rebels earlier this month renewed their attacks on the oil-rich province, an anti-Houthi stronghold. However, they faced stiff resistance and made no progress amid the intense aerial bombardment from the Saudi-led coalition.
The recent wave of violence has killed dozens of fighters, most of them Houthis, and raised fears of a new humanitarian crisis.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, citing United Nations figures, said that the Marib Governorate, the site of the ancient Great Ma’rib Dam, has served as a haven for around one million Yemenis who have fled Houthi attacks since the beginning of the war.
“The attack on the city would put two million civilians at risk, with the potential for hundreds of thousands to be forced to flee – with unimaginable humanitarian consequences,” Mark Lowcock, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator, said on Twitter on Monday.
Price also called on the Houthis to stop their cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia.
The rebels have recently intensified their attacks using drones loaded with explosives and missiles on the kingdom in an apparent attempt to pressure the Saudi-led coalition to halt its air campaign against the rebels in Marib and elsewhere in Yemen.
Despite the removal of the terrorist designation from the Houthis, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken indicated last week that the rebel leaders were still subject to US sanctions. He said the Biden administration was “actively working on identifying additional targets to be identified, particularly those responsible for explosive boat attacks against merchant ships in the Red Sea” and drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Price also urged the Houthis to engage “constructively” and “seriously” in the efforts of UN and US envoys aimed at finding a settlement to the conflict.
It is time to end this conflict. There is no military solution.
In a clear response to the US statement, the spokesman for the Houthi group, Muhammad Abdul Salam, called on the Saudi-led coalition to end its campaign and lift the siege on the areas controlled by the Houthis.
After that, he said, “We are ready to participate positively.”
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