Iran-Saudi Diplomatic Relations Revival Boosts Yemen Peace Talks: UN Envoy
The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, announced that diplomatic efforts to end the Yemeni conflict have intensified since Iran and Saudi Arabia restored diplomatic relations last week.
“Intense diplomatic efforts are ongoing at different levels to bring the conflict in Yemen to an end,” Grundberg said Wednesday after visiting Tehran and Riyadh. He also noted “a step change in the scope and depth of the discussions.”
On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal claimed that Iran has agreed to stop arming the Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen. However, both Iran and the Ansarullah movement have denied in multiple occasions that Tehran has ever provided weapons to the Yemenis. The US has supported Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen, referring to the Houthis as Iranian proxies.
In early March, the Deputy Minister of Information for the Yemeni Salvation Government Fahmi Al-Yousefi in dismissed “nonsense” accusations of Iranian weapons being smuggling to the Ansarullah group of Yemen, stating that the country has achieved self-sufficiency in producing weapons.
Last Friday, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced that they had reached a deal to re-establish diplomatic relations, which Riyadh had severed in 2016, and to work together to improve “regional and international peace and security.” The agreement, which China mediated, has been interpreted as a blow to US influence in the Persian Gulf.
On Sunday, Iranian media reported that the deal would revive a ceasefire, “help start a national dialogue, and form an inclusive national government in Yemen.”
Saudi Arabia and its allies have been bombing Yemen since March 2015, and the conflict has resulted in an estimated 377,000 deaths, with 150,000 deaths due to violence and the rest from starvation and disease. Approximately four million people have been displaced.