“What would prevent it? An annulment of the decision“which will enter into force on January 19, affirmed the UN Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Briton Mark Lowcock, believing that exemptions for NGOs delivering humanitarian aid, promised by Washington, will not limit the risk of widespread famine.
The decision on Sunday by the outgoing Republican administration of Donald Trump to designate the Houthis as “terrorists“, a measure which will begin on the eve of the inauguration of the President-elect Democrat, was welcomed by Saudi Arabia which is fighting these Yemeni rebels.
On the other hand, she was strongly criticized by the European Union, NGOs, and Democratic parliamentarians called on Joe Biden to reverse this decision as soon as he took office.
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– “Obstacles“policies –
In addition to blocking humanitarian aid, the US decision will hamper the process of political negotiations to resolve the conflict, United Nations officials warned during a Security Council video conference.
This is the first time that the UN, usually cautious in its statements about the United States, the Organization’s largest financial contributor, has so clearly and strongly criticized a decision by the outgoing American administration.
Before the Security Council, the UN envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, also British, stressed that he “strongly associated“to the position of Mark Lowcock”that the ruling would contribute to famine in Yemen and therefore should be revoked as soon as possible on humanitarian grounds“.
“We fear that (the US decision) will slow down and hinder our work to bring the parties closer together.“said the envoy who has regular contact with the Houthis.
“The most urgent priority in Yemen now is to prevent massive famine“, a insisté Mark Lowcock. “Predictions for 2021 show 16 million people will go hungry“, he clarified.
If implemented, the US decision risks crippling the delivery of humanitarian aid by opposing contact with Houthi officials, tax administration, use of the banking system, payment of medical personnel or purchase of food and fuel.
Mark Lowcock’s position was also sharply shared by the American David Beasley, boss of the World Food Program (Pam), Nobel Peace Prize 2020, who, dropping his prepared speech, improvised by speaking of American decision “catastrophic“.
– “Death sentence” –
“What do you think will happen to the five million people currently classified as an emergency? They will slide in famine conditions“, at-il having you.”We are now fighting against a designation (which) is going to be catastrophic. This is literally going to be a death sentence for hundreds of thousands if not millions of innocent people in Yemen.“, asserted David Beasley.
“This designation must be reassessed and frankly canceled.“, launched the boss of Pam.
Mark Lowcock also made an urgent appeal for donations to fund humanitarian aid in Yemen.
“In 2020, we received $ 1.7 billion, which is half of what we needed and less than half of what we got the year before.“, he said, recalling that the Gulf countries”had given much less last year“.
“The operations help 13.5 million people each month. Today we only help a little over 9 million“. In 2021, the humanitarian response plan to be published in February foresees needs estimated at”approximately $ 3.4 billion“and”we call on donors to make generous pledges and release funds quickly“said Mark Lowcock.
During the Council meeting, several countries including Russia, Mexico, Niger and the United Kingdom denounced the American decision, some calling for its annulment.
The United States, through the voice of its Deputy Ambassador Richard Mills, recalled being the largest donor of funds for humanitarian aid and assured that the US Treasury would announce on January 19 exemptions to limit the impact of the American decision .
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