Iran calls for inclusive government in Yemen

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says crisis 'has only a political solution'

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian says the crisis in Yemen 'has only a political solution'. AP
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Iran is calling for the formation of an inclusive government in war-ravaged Yemen.

The crisis in Yemen – where pro-Iran Houthi rebels are battling the government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition – "has only a political solution", said Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

"We believe that it is necessary to form a government in which all Yemeni parties participate, to maintain the national unity and sovereignty of Yemen," he said, according to state news agency Irna.

Mr Amirabdollahian was speaking at a memorial event for Hassan Eyrlou, Iran's late envoy to Sanaa, the rebel-held capital of Yemen.

Eyrlou died on Tuesday from coronavirus, days after his evacuation aboard an Iraqi plane, a rare exemption from a Saudi-led air blockade on Sanaa.

Iran's foreign ministry blamed the "slow co-operation of certain countries" in facilitating Erylou's evacuation. The comments were condemned by the Saudi-led coalition's spokesman Turki Al Malki as "defamatory".

Yemen has been embroiled in civil war since 2014. The Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened in 2015 to back the government, a year after the Houthis seized Sanaa.

The UN estimates the conflict will have claimed 377,000 lives by the end of the year through direct and indirect effects.

More than 80 per cent of Yemen's population of about 30 million is dependent on humanitarian aid.

An armed Houthi supporter in Yemen, where the pro-Iran rebels are battling the government backed by a Saudi-led military coalition. EPA

The Houthis come from the minority Zaidi Shiite sect of Islam and have their traditional stronghold in Yemen's mountainous north.

Between 2004 and 2010, they fought six wars against Yemen's government and battled Saudi Arabia in 2009-2010 after storming over the border.

The Saudis accuse Shiite-majority Iran of providing military support to the rebels, especially missiles and rockets fired into Saudi Arabia, claims Tehran denies.

On Saturday, the Saudi coalition launched what it called a "large-scale" military operation after a rocket attack by the Houthis.

Updated: December 29, 2021, 8:36 AM