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Iran's Zarif backs Yemen ceasefire in talks with rebel leader

The foreign minister "emphasised our country's support for a ceasefire and Yemeni-Yemeni talks", it added.

AFP , Wednesday 28 Apr 2021
Zarif, The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran. REUTERS
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Iran's foreign minister met the Yemeni rebel spokesman in Oman on Wednesday, reiterating Tehran's support for a ceasefire and a return to talks to end the country's long conflict.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's comments came a day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose country leads a military coalition supporting the Yemeni government, called on the Houthis to stop fighting and enter peace negotiations.

At the talks with Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam, Zarif once again stressed our country's view regarding the political solution being the only solution to the crisis of Yemen', the Iranian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The foreign minister 'emphasised our country's support for a ceasefire and Yemeni-Yemeni talks', it added.

Abdul Salam and other leaders of the Iranian-backed rebel movement live in exile in Muscat.

Several meetings have taken place in past years between Iran's chief diplomat and the Houthi spokesman in the Omani capital.

The war in Yemen, in which tens of thousands of people have been killed since the conflict erupted in 2014, has flared anew in the past two months with a rebel campaign to seize Marib city, the government's last stronghold in the north.

Saudi Arabia has proposed a 'comprehensive' ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table.

Riyadh accuses its arch-foe Iran of supporting the rebels with weapons and missiles and helping them build drones used to attack the kingdom.

Tehran denies the allegations and says its support for the Houthis is solely political.

On Tuesday, the Saudi crown prince struck a conciliatory tone in a television interview, saying he sought 'good' relations with Tehran.

'Iran is a neighbouring country, and all we aspire for is a good and special relationship with Iran,' he said.

In his meeting with Abdul Salam, Zarif expressed regret over 'the six-year imposed war on the people of Yemen, and called for ending the war and lifting' the Saudi-enforced blockade on the country.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online. 

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