Calls for Talks in Yemen Place Pressure on Saudi Arabia

  0 comments   |     by FP the Middle East Daily reports on April 09 , 2015

International pressure is mounting on Saudi Arabia this week. Days after Pakistan suggested Iran should have a role in resolving the conflict in Yemen, Iranian media reported yesterday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed Iran’s role in diplomacy during meetings yesterday in Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on other countries in the region to help reach “peace, stability, a broader government and dialogue” in Yemen. Erdogan’s visit this week comes despite comments he made last month that “Iran is trying to dominate the region.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry also called “on all relevant parties to quickly implement a ceasefire and avoid further civilian casualties,” suggesting the implementation of  “relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and Gulf Cooperation Council proposals.” A group of more than 30 Yemeni civil society groups issued a letter calling on the United Nations to intervene “to stop this war and force all powers that are behind these attacks to resume dialogue with no prior conditions” and “save Yemen from this humanitarian crisis.”

Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir pressed other governments not to downplay the role of Iran in supporting the Houthis, comparing them to a nascent Lebanese Hezbollah. “We don’t want people to make the same mistake with the Houthis,” he said. Al-Jubeir also said that the United States shares Saudi concerns about Iran’s role and that U.S. officials “know this is what the Iranians are providing.” Speaking in Riyadh yesterday, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States has expedited arms shipments to Saudi Arabia to facilitate the Saudi intervention in Yemen; the United States has also said it is providing intelligence support and would provide aerial refueling for the Saudi air force. After almost a week of delays, a plane chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross landed in Sanaa carrying medical staff; another flight carrying supplies is expected to arrive today.

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