Yemeni foreign minister calls for Houthis to be redesignated as terrorist group

International community is urged to take firmer action than just condemning the rebels' attack on Abu Dhabi

Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak said the international community had been 'very compliant' with the Iran-backed insurgents. Photo: Yemeni Foreign Ministry
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The Houthi rebel movement should be redesignated as a terrorist organisation after its attack on Abu Dhabi and continued assaults on Saudi Arabia, Yemen's Foreign Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak said on Tuesday.

The international community must respond more firmly than merely condemning the attacks on the UAE capital, he said.

"There seems to be some confusion over the reaction from the international community to the Houthis' attacks. The attacks on Abu Dhabi are unprecedented and represent a serious escalation and threat to Arab and regional security," Mr bin Mubarak told Sky News Arabia.

US President Joe Biden's administration revoked the Houthi movement’s terrorist designation last year in response to Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, reversing one of his predecessor’s final decisions before leaving office.

On Monday, two explosions in the UAE capital left three people dead and six injured. The attack, which caused three oil tankers parked outside a storage plant to explode, was claimed by the Houthis.

The plant is a staging point for petrol deliveries across the country. The explosion and fire that followed was heard and seen from kilometres away.

A strike on a second location, Abu Dhabi's international airport, led to a small fire in an extension away from the main building.

The UAE has requested a meeting of the UN Security Council over the attacks.

A communique from Lana Nusseibeh, Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations, to the president of the UN Security Council called on the council “to join the firm and unequivocal condemnation of these terrorist attacks, which were launched in complete disregard of international law".

"This illegal and alarming escalation is a further step in the Houthis’ efforts to spread terrorism and chaos in our region. It is another attempt by the Houthis, using the capabilities they have unlawfully acquired in defiance of UN sanctions, to threaten peace and security," it said.

Politicians and leaders around the world offered their condemnation and support following the Monday's deadly blasts in Abu Dhabi.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the incident, while White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called the strike a “terrorist attack”.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said his country was “committed to the UAE’s security and ability to defend itself, and stand united with our Emirati partners in defending against all threats to their territory.”

Arab leaders have pledged their support for the UAE and condemned the Houthi group.

The war in Yemen started in 2014 after the rebels seized Sanaa forcing the government to flee to the south and to Saudi Arabia.

In 2015, the Saudi-led coalition intervened at the request of the internationally recognised government in an effort to restore it to power.

Earlier this month, the Houthis were accused of the hijacking of a UAE-flagged ship off the coast of Yemen.

Updated: January 20, 2022, 4:57 AM