The US envoy to the UN lambasted Yemen’s Houthis on Tuesday, demanding that the Iran-backed group release US employees it continues to detain.
In October, the Houthis detained 30 local Yemeni staff and were subsequently released with the help of Washington’s regional partners, a State Department official told Al Arabiya English.
But the group later detained more US employees and others that worked for the United Nations. The exact number of detained US and UN employees remains unknown.
And US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Tuesday that the Houthis are still detaining and harassing “our Yemeni local staff” while also intruding into the former US Embassy compound.
“The Houthis must immediately release — unharmed — all current and former Yemeni employees of the United States. They must immediately vacate the US compound and return all seized property and cease their threats against their own fellow citizens, simply for being employed by us,” she told the UN Security Council briefing on Yemen.
The Houthis must immediately release unharmed all current and former Yemeni employees of the United States and the @UN. These and other provocative Houthi actions show the Houthi unwillingness to participate in a UN-mediated, peaceful political process for Yemen. https://t.co/bpJvRCwd0h— Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield (@USAmbUN) December 14, 2021
While the US has taken a softened stance against the Houthis since President Joe Biden took office, the group has refused to engage in talks about ending the yearslong war.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen remains dire, Greenfield said. “With continued conflict, Yemen’s economy will deteriorate further, and with it, the livelihoods of millions of Yemenis. Lives will continue to be endangered, and generations of Yemenis will bear its scars.”
While the Yemeni government, backed by Saudi Arabia, has repeatedly voiced willingness to end the war and hold discussions on a peaceful solution, the Houthis continue to “undermine peace,” she said.
Apart from detaining local employees, the Houthis have refused to halt their offensive on Marib.
“The offensive endangers thousands of civilians, and OCHA has warned it could lead to the displacement of half a million people. The Houthis must stop this offensive immediately,” Greenfield said.
Greenfield also condemned the repeated Houthi missile attacks on Saudi Arabia, including three ballistic missiles launched at Riyadh in the last week alone.
“The Houthis have conducted well over 350 such attacks this year — a staggering number and a shocking increase from last year’s total,” she said.
The US diplomat said the group, which Iran must stop lethally supporting, was blocking efforts to peace.
“In the face of Houthi provocations, harassment, and violence against their own people, I want the Houthis to know that the United States will never give up on the people of Yemen,” she said.
US Navy seizes two caches of Iranian arms in Arabian Sea destined for Yemen’s HouthisThe US Navy seized two large caches of Iranian weapons from two vessels in the Arabian sea which Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) ... World News
Exclusive: Video shows Houthis using residential areas, human shields during attacksVideo footage obtained by Al Arabiya on Sunday showed the Iran-backed Houthi militia using residential areas and human shields to launch missile ... Gulf