04/22/2015, 00.00
YEMEN - S. ARABIA - IRAN
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End of Saudi air raids in Yemen. Tehran: humanitarian and political solution

Riyadh’s head of defense confirms the end of coalition operations in the country. Move from military to "political solution" to the crisis. The Iranian government considers the decision as "positive" and asks for "urgent humanitarian assistance" for the population. Oil prices plummet.

Sana'a (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Iranian Foreign Minister has called for "urgent humanitarian assistance" in Yemen, as Arab coalition air raids by Saudi Arabia against Shiite Houthi rebels conclude.

Mohammad Javad Zarif has welcomed Riyadh’s decision as "positive" and has asked for a round of talks for the formation of a new government. In recent weeks, the Sunni Saudis have repeatedly accused Iran, the largest Shiite power in the Middle East, of supporting - even militarily - Houthi rebels; allegations that Tehran has always rejected.

The head of the Saudi Defense confirmed that the efforts are now moving from a military to a "political solution" to the crisis. However, the military option is still viable in case of need.

In response, the Iranian Foreign Minister in a tweet stressed the "positive developments" in Yemen, which has to be followed by "humanitarian assistance" with the utmost urgency, a "dialogue" between the various factions and a government able to take command of the country.

In these hours even former President Mansour Hadi Abdrabbuh has reappeared in public. In a televised speech, he thanked Saudi allies for support. "I express the deepest gratitude and respect to our Arab and Muslim brothers and friends in this exceptional strategic alliance in my name and on behalf of the Yemeni people".

In the next few days a new operation to protect civilians should start, ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid and reviving peace talks between the various warring factions. It seems both Riyadh and Tehran agree on these points, in an effort to put an end to a war that, according to sources from the World Health Organization (WHO), in four weeks has caused the death of 944 people and wounded 3,487 others.

The coalition leadership, however, say the naval blockade on Yemen will remain in place and they will continue to target the Shiite Houthi rebels in the case of movements or attacks.

On the economic front, the announcement of the end of military operations saw oil prices plummet again.  Since the end of March at the beginning of the coalition air strikes, prices had risen to $ 6 per barrel . Now the price of crude oil is down by 2.2% at $ 62.08 a barrel.

Since January Yemen has been the scene of a bloody internal conflict opposing the Sunni leadership, supported by Saudi Arabia, and Shiite Houthi rebels, supported by neighboring Iran.

Earlier this year the rebels took control of the capital Sana'a and placed president Hadi under house arrest.

In February, however, he managed to escape, taking refuge in the port city of Aden in the south. In late March, he decided to leave Yemen and seek refuge abroad, in conjunction with the Houthi rebel offensive - backed by army units close to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh – which reached the outskirts of Aden. Hence the decision of the Saudi-led Arab coalition, to intervene with air strikes.

 

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