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U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs

11/23/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/23/2021 14:11

Meeks, McCaul Urge Blinken to Exercise 'All Available Leverage' to Secure Release of Detained U.S. Embassy Staff

Washington, D.C.- Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX) sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the Houthi breach of the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a, Yemen, and the harassment and detainment of U.S. Embassy locally employed Yemeni staff.

"The Houthis' actions are a clear violation of international law and basic principles of human rights. We must respond robustly to these provocations to prevent such abuses in the future," the lawmakers wrote. "…The United States cannot tolerate a breach of our sovereign territory or attacks on LES. In order to succeed in our diplomatic mission around the world, LES must have confidence that they are protected from assault or reprisal. We stand ready to work with you to hold the Houthis accountable for these shameful violations."

The full text of the letter can be found hereor below.

Dear Secretary Blinken,

We are alarmed by the Houthis' ongoing detention of U.S. Embassy Locally Employed Staff (LES) and their storming of the U.S. Embassy compound. Above all, we call on the Houthis to immediately release all U.S. and U.N. staff and end their harassment of U.S. Embassy LES and breach of our diplomatic compound. If the Houthis fail to comply, we urge you to exercise all available leverage to secure the release of the detained LES and ensure the well-being of our LES in the future, including via relocation, if necessary.

The Houthis' actions are a clear violation of international law and basic principles of human rights. We must respond robustly to these provocations to prevent such abuses in the future, whether in Yemen or elsewhere, and whether against LES of the United States or any other nation. We urge you to work with our partners to ensure that there is universal condemnation of these despicable actions. We are particularly grateful that the Government of Oman has already played a helpful role in working to secure the release of some U.S. Embassy LES, and hope that the United States and Oman will continue to work closely together.

The Houthis' military capabilities are enabled by Iran, which has long supported the group with weapons and training. We urge you to continue working with the Department of Defense and other parts of the U.S. government to ensure that adequate resources are devoted to disrupting this destabilizing partnership, including by intercepting weapons smuggled by Iran to the Houthis.

The United States cannot tolerate a breach of our sovereign territory or attacks on LES. In order to succeed in our diplomatic mission around the world, LES must have confidence that they are protected from assault or reprisal. We stand ready to work with you to hold the Houthis accountable for these shameful violations.

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