Iran FM calls for ‘active, independent’ UN role in Yemen
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged the United Nations to intensify efforts to solve the crisis in Yemen, emphasizing the need for a halt to deadly Saudi air raids against the neighboring Arab state.
The United Nations and its secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, should play an “active” and “independent” role with regard to the deadly conflict in Yemen, Zarif said during his meeting with the world body’s special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in the Iranian capital Tehran on Thursday.
He also said that the establishment of a full-fledged ceasefire can be the starting point of any peace process in Yemen, adding that intra-Yemeni dialog is the only way out of the political deadlock in the Arabian Peninsula state.
“Iran backs initiatives that will bring all Yemeni political groups to the negotiating table,” Zarif said, warning that no foreign country should be party to the peace talks.
Iran and other countries can help with Yemen’s peace process only if the need arises, he went on to say.
The top Iranian diplomat also rejected as “unacceptable” the ongoing bombardment and siege against the Yemeni people, warning against the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged country.
Ahmed, for his part, hailed Tehran’s efforts to restore stability to Yemen, especially its four-point peace initiative to end bloodshed in the impoverished state.
The proposal, which was submitted by Zarif to the UN in April, includes hammering out a ceasefire, sending humanitarian assistance to the people affected by violence, launching an intra-Yemeni dialog, and establishing a broad-based government participated by all Yemeni factions.
The UN official further insisted on the Yemeni-Yemeni dialog as it facilitates a political solution to the conflict, adding that no Yemeni group should be left out of the peace process.
On Wednesday, Zarif also held a meeting with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos over the war in Yemen.
Earlier on Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that peace talks aimed at ending the crisis in Yemen will begin in the Swiss city of Geneva on May 28.
In a televised speech on Wednesday, the leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, said talks are the “only solution” to the conflict in his country.
The Ansarullah movement, however, had previously slammed the recent Yemen talks in Saudi Arabia, saying it would only engage in dialog inside Yemen or a neutral country. The group says the negotiations, whose last session was held on Tuesday, did not represent the demands of the Yemeni population.
The political crisis in Yemen was exacerbated by Saudi Arabia’s air campaign which started on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
The latest Saudi airstrikes killed at least two civilians, including a woman in Sa’ada Province. Saudi warplanes also bombed a school in the same province.
Six people including a woman killed in Saudi airstrike in the region of Kuhlan Afar in Yemen’s Hajjah Province.
There were several other airstrikes in the provinces of Tai’zz, Bayda, Dhamar, and Sana’a.
Fighter jets once again targeted the building of Yemen’s al-Masirah TV. The headquarters of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the northern region of Midi was targeted as well.
The United Nations says, since March 19, over 1,800 people have been killed and 7,330 injured due to the conflict in Yemen.