Iran missiles must stop for Yemen war to end, say Saudi Arabia and Oman

Oman optimistic about progress of talks

Soldiers loyal to Yemen’s government. Reuters
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Iran’s nuclear and missile system must be dealt with seriously if the war in Yemen is to stop, Saudi Arabia and Oman said on Tuesday.

The war started after the Houthi rebels, an Iran-backed insurgent group, seized the capital Sanaa, forcing President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi to leave for Aden and later move to Riyadh.

“The two sides affirmed their views on continuing their efforts to find a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis based on the Gulf initiative, UN resolutions and the initiative of Saudi Arabia to end the war and alleviate humanitarian suffering,” Saudi Arabia and Oman said in a joint statement.

Following the start of the war, Yemen's neighbours came to the aid of its embattled government in March 2015, within the framework of the Saudi-led Arab coalition, which included the UAE.

On Iran, the two sides said: “It is necessary to co-operate and seriously deal with the Iranian nuclear and missile file in a way that contributes to achieving regional and international security and stability.”

This can be done through “the principles of good neighbourliness, respecting UN resolutions and international legitimacy, and sparing the region from its destabilising activities,” the statement said.

For months, Saudi Arabia has attempted to negotiate with the group in hopes of finding a settlement and easing the suffering of the Yemeni people.

In March, the kingdom proposed a new peace plan to end the war. It suggests a UN-supervised ceasefire between the government and Houthi rebels.

The plan also includes the reopening of vital air and sea links and the start of political negotiations.

Houthi rebels have said the offer did not appear to go far enough to lift the air and sea blockade in place.

The rebels are still refusing to engage meaningfully in talks to end the conflict. Fierce ground battles have spread and the Iran-backed rebels have resumed cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia in recent days.

Despite the battle on the ground, Oman’s Foreign Minister, Badr Al Busaidi, expressed optimism on the progress of political negotiations. The top diplomat said there is an “advance in Yemen’s political process”.

“We have strong convictions to stop the Yemeni war and advance the political track,” he told Al Arabiya Television network.

For years, Oman has been meditating to help end the war in Yemen.

Mr Busaidi said his country is seeking “to bring the views of Yemen’s warring sides closer”.

“Our role in the crisis is to help and the Houthis have not rejected the Omani efforts,” he said.

Yemen’s war has led to more than tens of thousands of deaths. It has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian disaster, with millions experiencing or on the brink of famine, according to the UN. The conflict has also left the country even more vulnerable to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Updated: September 14, 2021, 5:44 AM