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99 intl. rights organizations call for freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

This file picture shows a historic building destroyed in a Saudi airstrike in the Old City of Sana’a, Yemen. (Photo by Xinhua)

Ninety-nine international human rights organizations have demanded a freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, an immediate cessation of the war on Yemen, and lifting of a blockade on the country.

In a joint statement released on Friday, they said the continuation of the siege and the Saudi-led onslaught over the past six years has turned Yemen into the world's worst humanitarian crisis since the end of the World War II, left tens of thousands of civilians killed and wounded, and resulted in the destruction of infrastructure and severe shortage of access to necessary food and medicine.

The statement said almost 80 percent of the Yemeni population, including 12 million children, is in a desperate and urgent need of humanitarian assistance as a result of the Saudi-led aggression and siege, stressing the need for the opening of Sana'a International Airport as well as the port of Hudaydah.

The US and Italy have recently announced that they would freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The rights organizations called on all world countries, particularly Britain and France, to do the same and suspend all arms deals with the two Persian Gulf states.

The statement said the suspension of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE will contribute positively to the end of the war and bloodshed.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, back to power and crushing the popular Ansarullah movement.

According to the UN, 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people need some form of aid or protection. About 13.5 million Yemenis currently face acute food insecurity, UN data shows.

‘US decision to delist Ansarullah shows Trump’s mistake’

A member of Yemen's Supreme Political Council says recent remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that he will revoke terrorist designations of the popular Ansarullah movement later this month shows former US president Donald Trump was wrong to blacklist the group.

“Blinken's remarks underscore that the former [US] administration was wrong [to blacklist Ansarullah], and confirmed that enemies and rivals testify to Ansarullah's legitimate right to defend the homeland and sovereignty of the country,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page late on Friday.

He said Ansarullah views the recent US decision as a positive step, noting that Yemen is waiting for new measures aimed at ending Washington’s evil behavior towards the country.

Blinken announced in a statement that he was removing Ansarullah from the US list of foreign terrorist organizations as of next Tuesday, February 16.

The Trump administration blacklisted the movement on its last full day in office despite warnings by aid groups, the United Nations and other governments that the move could push Yemen into a major famine.

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