Saudi FM: ‘We are not at war with Iran’

The role the Iranians played in Yemen ‘exasperated the problem which led to an increase in violence,’ Prince Faisal said

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Saudi Arabia is not at war with Iran, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said on Sunday, adding that he hoped the Islamic Republic ends its support of Houthi militias in Yemen.

In a joint press conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Riyadh, Prince Faisal also said the 10-state anti-Houthi coalition launched on March 26 came after a request by the country’s president Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi for intervention.

The role the Iranians have played in Yemen “exasperated the problem which led to an increase in violence in the country,” Prince Faisal added.

"How can Iran call for us to stop the fighting in Yemen ... We came to Yemen to help the legitimate authority, and Iran is not in charge of Yemen," Prince Faisal said.

The Saudi-led “Operation Decisive Storm,” for which Fabius voiced his support during the conference, has been targeting Houthi-held areas in Yemen in an effort to counter the militia’s advance in the embattled country.

“Concerning Yemen, we are here to demonstrate our support, especially political, to the Saudi authorities,” Fabius told reporters as he began a series of meetings with the Saudi leadership including King Salman.

The Houthis, allied with army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been fighting forces loyal to Hadi, who fled to the Saudi capital Riyadh late last month.

Fabius reaffirmed to his Saudi hosts that “France is naturally on the side of its regional partners for the restoration of stability in Yemen,” his entourage said.

Paris, like Riyadh and Washington, considers Hadi as leader of the legitimate government of Yemen, which had supported a United States drone war against al-Qaeda fighters there.

“It will be necessary, at one moment or another, to hold talks” for a political solution, Fabius said.

Separately, Prince Faisal said a preliminary deal that aims to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities reached earlier this month with world powers could lead to more security in the region.

Fabius said there remains two main points that need to be discussed before reaching the final deal.

Meanwhile, commenting on the crisis in Syria, the top French diplomat said a solution would only be found with an all-inclusive Syrian government representing all of the country’s political parties.

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