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Yemeni VP hosts US officials to discuss designating Houthis as terrorist organization

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Yemen's Vice President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar discussed the possibility of designating the Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization with senior US officials on Sunday.

Al-Ahmar stressed the importance of including the Houthi militia on the US' terrorism list in discussions with US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, local news agencies reported on Sunday.

He emphasized that the Houthis had enacted a criminal coup in the country, which placed the international community in a position significant responsibility to implement a global reaction and pressure the Houthis and their financiers in Tehran.

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"The Houthi approach puts the international community in charge of responding to popular, political and legal demands to criminalize the group and quickly include it on terrorist lists," said al-Ahmar, according to reports from the Yemeni News Agency.

He noted the Houthis' continuous escalation, their lack of commitment to the Stockholm Agreement, and their attacks and drones on Yemeni cities and brothers in the Kingdom, and their committing crimes that outweigh what terrorist groups are practicing and their defiance and disdain for the international community and its decisions.

The US Ambassador to Yemen Christopher Henzel was also reportedly in the meeting.

The complexity of the military landscape

"The Houthis, with the support of Iran, are compounding the military and political scene and exacerbating the human suffering of Yemenis," he said.

He also indicated that the government's priorities are to work to accelerate the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement to bridge the rift and unify the ranks of the Yemenis, noting that Yemenis refused to accept the Iranian experience or the experience of Hezbollah in Yemen.

For his part, US Assistant Secretary of State Schenker renewed his country's support for the legitimate government and its willingness to strengthen various areas of cooperation, including the field of counterterrorism.

Terrorist organization

The talks took place amid reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may declare the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization later this week.

According to the Washington Post, Pompeo is finalizing the Iranian-backed group's designation as a foreign terrorist organization.

The Washington Post reported that the Houthi militia's declaration as a terrorist group comes within the framework of the maximum pressure policy that President Donald Trump's administration continues to follow in dealing with the Iranian regime.

The US National Security Adviser, Robert O'Brien, announced a week ago that the US options are open to deal with the Houthi militia in Yemen. He also called on the Houthis to turn away from Iran and stop attacking neighboring countries.

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