Saudi FM says Riyadh 'not at war with Iran' in Yemen

AFP , Sunday 12 Apr 2015

Saud Al-Faysal
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia called on Iran to stop supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen on Sunday but Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal insisted Riyadh was not at war with Tehran.

"Unless Iran thinks it is suddenly become part of Yemen, we are not at war with Iran," he said at a press conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.

But he also called on Tehran not to "assist the criminal activities" of the Huthi rebels "against the legitimate order of Yemen and (to) stop the delivery of weapons and aid" to the militiamen.

Fabius, who met with King Salman and other top Saudi officials during a visit to Riyadh, said France was ready to work on resolving the crisis in Yemen.

"France has expressed its readiness to find a solution" for Yemen, he said.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of several Arab countries which since March 26 has carried out air strikes against the Huthis, who overran the capital Sanaa in September and have expanded to other parts of Yemen.

Riyadh fears the rebels would take over the entire country and move it into the orbit of Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia's regional rival.

Saud said the kingdom intervened at the request of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the Huthi advance for Riyadh.

Iran has rejected accusations of arming the rebels and its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the coalition's efforts as "criminal acts".

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