US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Houthi militants in Yemen must know they’ll face “consequences” for continued attacks on ships in the Red Sea.
“We’ve had 40 countries come together to make clear that what the Houthis are doing has to stop,” Blinken told reporters Monday in Saudi Arabia, after meeting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and before heading to Tel Aviv. “We have other countries that have made clear that if it continues, there have to be consequences.”
The top US diplomat, who’s on his fourth trip through the Middle East since Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, has visited Turkey, Greece, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates in quick succession to discuss efforts to avoid a regional conflict, protect Palestinian civilians and garner Arab support for a post-conflict government in Gaza.
But he’s also traveling as tensions are rising in the Red Sea, the gateway to the Suez Canal that’s crucial to global trade, where Houthis have attacked commercial ships in response to Israel’s war in Gaza.
“These attacks are having a real effect on the prices that people have to pay for food, for medicine, for energy. Ships have to get diverted to other places. Insurance rates go up,” Blinken said.
“And the basic principle of freedom of navigation is what’s at stake. So the international community has a real stake in upholding that principle.”