Washington and Riyadh are in agreement over the support Iran is providing the Houthi rebels in Yemen, Saudi ambassador to the United States Adel al-Jubeir said on Monday.
“Iran provides financial support for the Houthis and helps them in building weapon factories and providing them with weapons. In addition that there are Iranians working alongside the Houthis,” al-Jubeir told U.S. and Arab reporters in a gathering in Washington, reported state-run Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“When I talk with U.S. officials, they know that this is what the Iranians do with the Houthis,” he said.
“There is no difference between us and the United States of America when the matter relates to Iran’s support for the Houthi,” the diplomat said, highlighting reports of the U.S. interception of an Iranian cargo ship loaded with weapons and missiles destined for Yemen’s Houthis.
“We do not want the error of Hezbollah in Lebanon to be repeated with the Houthi in Yemen.
“The support that we find from our coalition partners or allies around the world, whether France or Britain or the United States of America remains strong and grows strongly.”
In support, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday that the United States was speeding up weapon supplies to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
Speaking to reporters in Riyadh after talks with Gulf Arab allies and Hadi, Blinken said Washington was stepping up intelligence sharing with the coalition, adding that Saudi Arabia was sending a “strong message to the Houthis and their allies that they cannot overrun Yemen by force.”
Military serving in ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ are in the process of destroying weapon and ballistic missiles that may pose a threat to Saudi Arabia, said al-Jubeir, adding that the Saudi-led coalition had been “very effective” in destroying Houthi centers of command.
But Saudi Arabia and its allies are also searching for a political solution to the crisis in Yemen, the diplomat added.
“We know that by the end of the track, Yemenis should reach an agreement on the basis of the Gulf initiative and the results of the national dialogue, and on its basis, the political transition in Yemen will continue to the point whereby the Yemenis can get rid of the current crisis and move forward toward a stable future,” al-Jubeir said.
“We are sure that this process cannot be carried out without the presence of a legitimate government and adhering to a number of principles which prohibit any use of force or possession of heavy weapons by any group outside the legitimate security forces in the country. We hope that the Houthis are aware of their inability to seize the country by force and begin the political process in accordance with the principles that I have mentioned.”
On the humanitarian situation in Yemen, al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia was providing Yemen with necessary relief, and continued to facilitate international relief organizations’ deployment in the country.
He said the Houthis were hiding missiles and command centers in areas populated by civilians, turning them into human shields.
“Some areas of civilians have been targeted by Houthis and some civilian casualties occurred due to Houthis’ use of ground to ground missiles which did not hit their goals at launch,” al-Jubeir pointed out.
“We are aware that it is not good to be sitting next to a failed or poor country and that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has worked over the past several years to help Yemen economically and in all other fields to eliminate its problems.”
“But unfortunately Ali Abdullah Saleh has misused his country’s administration over 30 years, and we hope, through a stable government in Yemen, to open the doors to investors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries,” al-Jubeir added.SHOW MORE