On April 28th, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that he supported ceasefire negotiations in Yemen.
He said that in a meeting with Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam in Oman.
During the talks, Zarif “once again stressed our country’s view regarding the political solution being the only solution to the crisis of Yemen”, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Minister “emphasised our country’s support for a ceasefire and Yemeni-Yemeni talks”, it added.
In his meeting with Abdul Salam, who lives in exile in Muscat, Zarif also expressed regret about “the six-year imposed war on the people of Yemen, and called for ending the war and lifting” a Saudi-enforced blockade on the country.
This could be significant, since there’s been talks of a change in direction for Saudi Arabia and the potential of negotiations between Tehran and Riyadh.
Zarif’s statement also came just a day after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called on the Houthis to stop fighting and enter peace negotiations. He offered them peace, stability and a significant financial incentive.
According to the Arab Weekly, it has been speculated that Zarif’s visits to Doha, Baghdad and Muscat, all of whom have good relations with Tehran, are a possible precursor to restoring ties with Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia proposed a “comprehensive” ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table, a proposal that the Houthis immediately rejected, saying a blockade on the country must first be lifted.
Riyadh accuses Iran of supporting the rebels with weapons and missiles and helping them build drones used to attack the kingdom.
Now, Tehran appears to be changing policy as well, at least formally.
On April 27th, the MBS spoke of normalization in a television interview, saying he sought “good” relations with Tehran, after unnamed sources said the rivals had held secret talks in Baghdad.
“Iran is a neighbouring country, and all we aspire for is a good and special relationship with Iran,” he said
This comes on the heels of a UN and US calls on the Houthis to stop their offensive on Marib city, the last Saudi-led coalition stronghold left in Central Yemen.
On April 25th, military sources said Houthis had taken full control of the northwest Kassara battlefield and made progress on the western front lines despite air attacks by the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition backing the government of Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
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