Iran welcomes UN-brokered ceasefire in Yemen

Iran has welcomed a two-month truce between Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebel force for seven years.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh on Saturday expressed hope that the ceasefire could be “a prelude to fully lifting the siege on Yemen” and “establishing a truce permanent” which could help to find a “political solution to the crisis”. “, and lead to “the complete exchange of prisoners” between the warring parties.

This is a major breakthrough as warring parties in Yemen’s conflict have agreed to a two-month national truce. The Yemeni conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

United States and others criticized Iran for supplying missiles, drones and other weapons to the Houthis as part of its drive for regional influence and attempts to weaken Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Tehran is asking Washington to lift the sanctions imposed on its Revolutionary Guards who manage proxy forces in the Middle East.

It is reasonable to assume that without Tehran’s agreement, the Houthis would not have agreed to a ceasefire with Riyadh.

The truce will allow oil ships to enter the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah and regular commercial flights to operate from the airport in the capital Sanaa to other countries in the region. The parties also agreed to discuss opening roads in Taizz and other Yemeni provinces.

UN special envoy Hans Grundberg said on Friday that the ceasefire would come into effect before the holy month of Ramadhan at 7 p.m. local time (1600 GMT) and could be renewed if the parties concerned agree. OK.

“The purpose of this truce is to give Yemenis a much-needed break from the violence, relief from humanitarian suffering and above all hope that an end to this conflict is possible,” Grundberg said in a statement on Friday, adding that he would push for a permanent ceasefire. .

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also expressed hope that the truce could be “a first step to ending Yemen’s devastating war” and urged the Houthis, also known as Ansarullah , and the Saudi-led coalition to resume “an inclusive and comprehensive Yemeni policy”. to treat.”

The Houthis said on Wednesday the cessation of military operations for the month of Ramadan, announced by the coalition, made “no sense” if the siege against the rebels continued to be fully effective.

The coalition ceasefire came just days after the Houthis launched several drone and missile attacks on Saudi oil giant Aramco’s petroleum products distribution station in Jeddah on March 25, presumably as talks were taking place behind the scenes.

The United States, its Western allies and other blame drones and missiles supplied by Iran for Houthi attacks on Saudi and Emirati energy facilities.

In mid-March, in response to possible plans by the Saudi-based Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to invite Yemeni parties, including the Houthis, to consultations in Riyadh, Iran-backed Ansarullah , said he only host the talks if the venue was a neutral country.

The coalition that includes Saudi Arabia’s regional allies, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been at war with the Houthis since 2015 in support of internationally recognized President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Houthis ousted Hadi in late 2014 for what they said was corruption.

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