Bab al-Mandab, Yemen
3 January 2024

The U.S. and twelve other countries issued a joint statement on Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, asserting that “attacks on vessels, including commercial vessels, using unmanned aerial vehicles, small boats, and missiles, including the first use of anti-ship ballistic missiles against such vessels, are a direct threat to the freedom of navigation that serves as the bedrock of global trade in one of the world’s most critical waterways”. They demanded “the immediate end of these illegal attacks and release of unlawfully detained vessels and crews”, emphasising: “The Houthis will bear the responsibility of the consequences should they continue to threaten lives, the global economy and free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways. We remain committed to the international rules-based order and are determined to hold malign actors accountable for unlawful seizures and attacks”. The same day, the U.S. told the UN Security Council that “Iran has been deeply involved in planning operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea… The U.S. does not seek confrontation with Iran. Iran has a choice here: it can continue its current course or it can withhold its support – without which the Houthis would struggle to effectively track and strike commercial vessels”.

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