Washington—Representative Gregory W. Meeks, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statement:
"The designation of the Houthi organization in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization is short-sighted and endangers the lives of the Yemeni people. Our sanctions authorities are powerful, and the United States should use them effectively and appropriately. Under no circumstances should they be politicized, as they are today with this designation. The Trump Administration has yet to learn that they can’t sanction their way out of a civil war.
"I am cognizant of the destabilizing role that the Houthis play in the conflict, including by doing Iran’s bidding and obstructing humanitarian assistance. However, this designation makes it harder to deliver life-saving assistance in a country already experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. Food aid, clean water, and basic health care for millions would be severely impacted. People will suffer and die, and those deaths are entirely preventable.
"No solution in Yemen will be sustainable unless the Houthis are involved. By designating the Houthi organization as a foreign terrorist organization, the Trump Administration is only pushing a political solution to the conflict further out of reach. Even if the designation were to be reversed quickly by the Biden Administration, the damage will be done, with a chilling effect on U.S. implementing partners in Yemen and further alienation of the Houthis as political actors.
"The designation could also complicate UN efforts to assess and repair the FSO Safer tanker, which has been moored off the coast of Yemen since 2015. The deteriorating tanker is at risk of leaking or exploding. A spill of this magnitude could shut down Red Sea shipping lanes and result in an environmental catastrophe. We should be doing everything in our power to prevent this outcome.
"I urge a speedy reversal of this designation and an urgent return to the negotiation table. Only a political solution will solve this conflict, prevent widespread famine, and cure this humanitarian crisis."
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