Biden suspends some sanctions on Yemen’s Houthis

The administration of US President Joe Biden has suspended some sanctions imposed on Yemen’s Anssarallah movement by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Treasury Department announced yesterday that it would exempt certain transactions involving the Houthis from sanctions. These were imposed after the Houthis were designated as a foreign terrorist organization in the final days of the Trump administration.

According to a statement issued by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the exemption will expire on 26 February. However, the Treasury’s exemptions do not reverse Pompeo’s designation.

The sanctions imposed on the Houthis took effect a day before Biden was inaugurated despite being widely criticized by aid organizations, analysts and even some senior US officials who argued that the move would hinder humanitarian efforts and UN-brokered peace talks.

The suspension comes amid mounting calls for Biden to reverse the designation and follows a statement by 22 aid organizations working in Yemen which said that it will cause “delays and uncertainty” in their ability to provide aid, and make it more difficult to operate in the war-torn country. The signatories include the Mercy Corps, the Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee.