The US on Tuesday condemned the seizure of a cargo vessel by Houthi rebels off the coast of Hudaydah in western Yemen.
To remind, the United Arab Emirates-flagged vessel was hijacked on Sunday night.
“These actions interfere with freedom of navigation in the Red Sea and threaten international trade and regional security,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“These Houthi actions come at a time when all parties should be de-escalating and returning to inclusive political talks,” he added.
Price said the US urges the Houthis to immediately release the ship and its crew unharmed and to cease all violence that sets back the political process to end the war in Yemen.
The Saudi-led coalition in Yemen said in a statement Monday that the ship was carrying medical equipment for a Saudi field hospital on Yemen’s Socotra Island.
Yemen has been engulfed by violence and instability since 2014, when Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
The coalition’s aim of reinstating the Yemeni government has worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises.
Nearly 80% of population, or about 30 million people, are in need of humanitarian assistance and protection as more than 13 million are in danger of starvation, according to UN estimates.