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Iran calls for immediate Yemen peace talks

AFP , Friday 17 Apr 2015
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talks to journalists during a joint news conference with his Portuguese counterpart Rui Machete following their meeting at the Necessidades palace, the Portuguese Foreign Ministry, in Lisbon, Wednesday, April 15, 2015 (Photo: AP)

Iran has called for immediate peace talks between Yemen's warring parties, official media said Friday, as rebels backed by Tehran battle loyalist forces supported by Saudi-led air strikes.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the appeal during a telephone call with UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Thursday, the IRNA news agency said.

Iran has proposed a peace plan for Yemen that calls for a ceasefire followed by foreign-mediated talks by all sides.

"Mr Zarif referred to the Iranian four-point plan to end the crisis in Yemen, stressing the importance of an immediate dialogue between the Yemenis and said Iran was ready to help resolve this crisis," IRNA said.

"Ban Ki-moon acknowledged the efforts of the Islamic Republic to peacefully resolve the crisis in Yemen and focused on the immediate provision of medicines and food to those affected," it said.

Ban called Thursday for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bombing Houthi Shia rebels fighting forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Saudi Arabia.

The UN chief is searching for a new envoy to seek a political solution following the resignation of Jamal Benomar, a Moroccan-born diplomat who lost the confidence of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Riyadh and Washington accuse Tehran of supplying arms to the rebels, which Iran strongly denies.

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