Iran says a recent power-sharing agreement between warring parties of southern Yemen will only help Saudi Arabia tighten its grip on the country.
On Tuesday, forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, and militants backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an agreement to end their months-long infighting.
“Signing such documents won’t resolve Yemeni people’s problems and in fact all it does is give a boost to the occupation of southern Yemen by Saudi Arabia and its allies directly or through their proxy forces,” Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Wednesday.
Reiterating Iran’s position about forming a unity government through dialogue, Mousavi underlined the need to respect Yemen’s sovereignty, saying the people of Yemen “won’t let their country’s southern parts fell into the hands of their enemies.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said after the “Riyadh Agreement” that it facilitated a crucial step towards reaching a political solution to end the four-year war against the impoverished country.
“This agreement will open a new period of stability in Yemen. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands with you,” the young prince said at the signing ceremony.
“It’s a joyful day in Saudi as the two sides come together,” he added.
The two militant groups are allied in their fight against Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement.
Mousavi questioned the kingdom’s real incentive and advised bin Salman to accept Yemen’s peace offer if he really wanted to end the Riyadh regime’s deadly war against Yemen.
“If they are serious in their claims to resolve Yemen’s problem, instead of deciding on behalf of groups that have no power of their own, they should accept the peace offer put forward by [head of Yemen’s Houthi-run Supreme Political Council] Mahdi Mashat,” he said.
Back in September, Mashat said the Houthi Ansarullah movement would end all attacks on Saudi Arabia provided that the kingdom and its allies ended their attacks on Yemen.
The offer came almost a week after Houthi fighters conducted drone and missile strikes on two of Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities, in Abqaiq and Khurais. The attacks led to a halt in about 50 percent of the Arab kingdom’s crude and gas production, causing a surge in oil prices.
Mousavi noted in his remarks that “ending the war and the bloodshed and lifting the cruel blockade against Yemen was the first step towards resolving the conflict.”
The next step, he said, was for the warring parties to sit down and negotiate an agreement for the future of their country.