The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for African and Middle Eastern Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, will attend the Islamic Cooperation’s emergency ministerial meeting on Yemen hosted in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
While the meeting is at the level of foreign minister, the Iranian foreign minister will not be in Jeddah, which perhaps can be attributed to the increasingly tense diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The conflict in Yemen remains a chief cause of those diplomatic tensions. Saudi Arabia has twice prevented Iranian aid carriers from landing in Yemen. Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of providing weapons to Yemen’s Houthis, an allegation categorically denied by Iran. Iran has been calling for a ceasefire and talks that would include all the different factions.
Meanwhile, the UN is holding peace talks in Geneva today, June 15, between representatives of the different factions involved in the Yemeni conflict.
The UN’s peace envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, said on Sunday: “The United Nations takes this opportunity to appeal to Yemen’s political actors to participate in these consultations in good faith and without pre-conditions, and in a climate of trust and mutual respect.”
Saudi Arabia began airstrikes on Yemen in March in support of Yemeni president Hadi Al-Mansour, who is currently in exile in Saudi Arabia.
Despite the airstrikes, Houthis, who have now been joined by supporters of former Yemeni president Ali Abdollah Saleh, are continuing their advances and on Sunday they took control of Al-Hazm near the Saudi border.
The UN is calling for a ceasefire and to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. A UN report this week has referred to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen as “catastrophic” with 20 million citizens in need of aid; that’s 80 percent of the population.