Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said no “private messages,” or “direct contact” had taken place to ease tensions with Iran, saying that Tehran first needed to change its behavior before talks can happen.
“Our message to Iran is to change its behavior first before anything is to be discussed,” Prince Faisal said on Saturday during a panel discussion at the 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany.
He said the Kingdom’s message is “quite clear.”
“Until we can talk about the real sources of that instability, talk is going to be unproductive,” Prince Faisal added.
Responding to a question about whether there has been a change in the Kingdom’s approach to Yemen, Prince Faisal said: “It’s not a shift from the Saudi side actually we saw after the September attacks on our oil facilities where the Iranians attacked the facilities but then they asked the Houthis to take the blame for it, and I think that sent a wakeup call to the Houthis that they are not partners with Iran but they are tools for the Iranian regime to use as they see fit.”
“And that was an incentive for the backchannel which was always present to activate and we continue to have that dialogue. There has been some recent escalation but we are committed to finding a way forward if the Houthis are willing to focus their attention on the interests of Yemen,” said Prince Faisal.
He added: “So our message has always been consistent to the Houthis and to all parties in Yemen that you should work toward bettering Yemen and toward the interests of Yemen we may differ on what is in the best interest of Yemen but that is an argument that is worth having rather than actuating the agendas of regional players.”
Prince Faisal said “Since our intervention in Yemen we have always said that we favor a political resolution, we favored every political dialogue whether its… by Martin Griffiths or his predecessor and we will continue to support that.”