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Iran says deal with Saudi Arabia will help end war in Yemen



CAIRO — Iran’s mission to the United Nations has said a breakthrough deal with Saudi Arabia restoring bilateral ties would help bring a political settlement to the years-long war in Yemen, officials reported on Sunday. Iranian official media.

Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed Friday to restore diplomatic ties and reopen embassies after seven years of tensions that have brought the two regional powers to the brink of conflict and fueled tensions across the region.

Shortly after exploding in 2014, the conflict in Yemen escalated into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, which led a military coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government, and Iran, which aided the rebels country’s Houthis.

Iran has long been accused by Western governments and UN experts of supplying weapons to the Houthis. Western militaries have repeatedly intercepted Yemen-bound ships carrying Iranian weapons in the Red Sea. Tehran has denied accusations of arming the Houthis.

China mediated the major diplomatic breakthrough between Tehran and Riyadh, which is widely believed to decrease the likelihood of armed conflict between regional rivals, both directly and in proxy disputes.

Citing a statement from Iran’s UN mission, the IRNA news agency said the deal with Saudi Arabia would speed up efforts to renew an expired ceasefire agreement, “help start a dialogue national government and to form an inclusive national government in Yemen”.

The month-long ceasefire, the longest in Yemen’s conflict, expired in October. Both sides, however, refrained from taking serious escalating steps that could spark an outbreak of fighting, as negotiations were underway between the Houthis and Saudi Arabia to renew the deal.

The Houthis appeared to welcome the deal, simultaneously lambasting the United States and Israel, Iran’s main enemies.

“The region needs the return of normal relations between its countries, through which the Islamic society can regain its lost security following foreign interventions, carried out by the Zionists and the Americans”, declared Mohamed Abdulsalam, spokesman for the rebels and chief negotiator. .

Yemen’s Saudi-backed government issued a carefully worded statement on the deal, expressing some optimism – and caveats.

“The position of the Yemeni government depends on actions and practices, not words and demands,” he said, adding that he would proceed with caution “until he sees a real change in behavior ( Iranian)”.

Abdel-Bari Taher, a Yemeni political commentator and former leader of the Journalists’ Syndicate, called the Saudi Arabia-Iran deal a “positive first step”. He urged Tehran and Riyadh to put more pressure on their allies in Yemen to end the conflict and ease tensions elsewhere in the region.

“They should pressure their allies to positively engage in UN efforts to revive political talks among Yemenis,” he said. “Yemen is a hot and sensitive spot in the regional rivalry. If resolved, it would ease tensions in other areas of the region.

Rights groups say the war in Yemen has triggered one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.

washingtonpost Gt

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