WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), the top Democrat of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Monday released a statement on the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization:

“Designating the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) is a death sentence for thousands of Yemenis and a clear attempt by the Trump administration to hamstring future peace negotiations,” said Murphy. “The Houthis and their financial supporters are already subject to U.S. sanctions, so the designation only makes it more difficult to negotiate with Houthi leaders and to deliver aid to Houthi-controlled areas, where more than 70% of Yemenis live. The humanitarian impact cannot be overstated. 90% of Yemen’s food is imported, and even humanitarian waivers will not allow commercial imports, essentially cutting off food for the entire country. The administration is going forward without any estimate of how many people will be impacted or any plan to prevent the imminent humanitarian catastrophe.”

Murphy continued: “There is no doubt that the Houthis have led a brutal military campaign that has starved, imprisoned and killed many civilians. But as the United States designates international actors for intentionally harming civilians in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen should also be at the top of that list. Instead of a counterproductive policy of designating the Houthis as an FTO, the United States should be brokering a broad-based political solution in Yemen and denying Tehran opportunities to grow their influence there. President-elect Biden should reverse this FTO designation on day one.”