U.S. to drop Houthi terrorist designation

The U.S. confirmed on Friday (February 5) that it plans to drop the Houthi movement's terrorist designation in response to Yemen's humanitarian crisis.

The move reverses one of the Trump administration's most criticized last-minute decisions.

It also came a day after President Joe Biden declared a halt to U.S. support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen, which is widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Houthi official Mohammed Ali al-Houthi told media on Saturday (February 6) that the group had heard of the U.S. administration's recent statements on Yemen, but had yet to see anything happen.

The U.N. describes Yemen as the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.

The organization and other aid groups had called for the designation to be revoked.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said they quote "welcome the stated intention by the U.S. administration".

A State Department official stressed that the action did not reflect U.S. view of the Houthis and their quote "reprehensible conduct".

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis.

U.N. officials are trying to revive peace talks as the country also faces an economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.