Saudi Arabia rejects Iran’s calls for ceasefire in Yemen conflict

Sunday, April 12, 2015
By Paul Martin
April 12, 2015

Riyadh has called on Iran not to interfere in the conflict in Yemen after Tehran repeatedly called for end to the Saudi-led airstrike campaign against embattled Yemen.

“How can Iran call for us to stop the fighting in Yemen? … We came to Yemen to help the legitimate authority, and Iran is not in charge of Yemen,” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said Sunday at a joint press conference in Riyadh with his French counterpart, Laurent Fabius.

Faisal called on Iran to stop providing political and military support to the Houthi rebels, a Shiite rebel group, that has taken control of swathes of the country, including the capital, Sanaa, in recent months.

On Thursday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei decried Saudi airstrikes as a “crime and genocide.” In a speech Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies to halt aggression in Yemen and commence peace negotiations.

“To the countries in the region, I say, let’s adopt the spirit of brotherhood. Let’s respect each other and other nations,” Rouhani said. “Do not kill innocent children. Let’s think about an end to the war, about a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance to the suffering people of Yemen.”

Moscow is calling for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, emphasizing that foreign military intervention would only lead to more civilian deaths. Last Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with the newly appointed Saudi ambassador, conveying the “necessity for a ceasefire” to create favorable conditions for a peaceful national dialogue.

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