Iran: Saudi decision to end Yemeni strikes “one step forward”
The Iraian Foreign Ministry has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s halt to its aerial campaign against Yemen, expressing hope that all parties to the conflict would try to resolve the crisis in the impoverished Arab country through diplomatic means.
“We had previously announced that the crisis in Yemen has no military solution,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said on Tuesday night.
“Establishment of truce and a halt to the killing of innocent and defenseless human beings is certainly one step forward,” Afkham said.
She expressed hope that immediate measures will be taken to send humanitarian aid to Yemen and conditions will be provided for negotiations between all the Yemeni groups and parties to form a broad based government.
Afkham made the remarks shortly after Riyadh declared the end of ‘Storm of Resolve’ operation against Yemen and announced the beginning of a new phase dubbed Operation “Restoring Hope”.
The mission, the statement said, would focus on security at home and counter-terrorism, aid and a political solution in Yemen.
The announcement came hours after Riyadh said it was preparing to send its elite National Guard to reinforce its border with Yemen.
The National Guard is regarded as the country’s best equipped military force, and until now has not been involved in the campaign, Aljazeera reported.
Led by Miteb, the son of the late King Abdullah, the unit is recruited from tribes that have traditionally backed the Saud royal family.
Two air strikes in Yemen on Tuesday killed at least 40 people, most of them civilians and wounded dozens of others, medical sources said.
One strike hit a bridge in central Ibb province as cars carrying militia members were driving on it, residents said, killing at least 20 people, mostly civilians. Another, on a security building in the city of Haradh near Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia, killed 13 civilians and seven soldiers.
Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing Yemen for almost a month in a bid to weaken the country’s dominant force, the Shi’ite Houthi militia movement.
The Saudi Ministry of Defense had earlier said that all heavy weapons and ballistic missiles belonging to the Houthis had been destroyed, that they had imposed restrictions over Yemen’s airspace, and that they had removed any possible threats on the kingdom and neighboring countries.