Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdul Malak al-Mekhlafi said that Iran’s interference in Yemen “represents an additional disaster to the Yemeni people’s sufferings,” stressing that the Persian State would not be part of a solution to the crisis in the country.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday, following talks with Egyptian officials, Mekhlafi underlined the Yemeni government’s commitment to the three approved references, which include the handover of arms, the release of detainees and the formation of a transitional government on the basis of the Gulf Initiative.
The Yemeni minister, who visited Cairo on Sunday, met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to discuss the need for the militias to hand over their weapons and means to promote coordination to stop the Iranian interference in Yemen.
Asked about the outcome of his meetings, Mekhlafi said: “We agreed on the importance of implementing the three references to the political solution, which include removing the militias’ arms, stopping the Iranian intervention, releasing the detainees and supporting the UN envoy in his next round of talks.”
The minister emphasized that the UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, was currently making attempts to bring the Houthis back to the negotiating table, adding that he was about to conduct a visit to Sanaa and to a number of regional countries, including Oman, before returning to Riyadh to meet with Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
On the party that is responsible for hampering a political solution to the crisis, Mekhlafi stressed that the Houthis were committed to the Iranian agenda to impose more pressure on the Arab coalition and the legitimate government.
“Houthis are betting on time, and they believe that prolonging the crisis can impose the fait accompli and that citizens will recognize their coup. In the end, they will have no choice but to respond to the peace initiatives,” he stated.
Asked about the humanitarian situation in Yemen, the foreign minister said that Houthis “show no interest in the suffering of the people, but have instead stolen humanitarian aid and delayed the entry of relief into the affected areas.”
Mekhlafi, on the other hand, highly valued efforts deployed by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, to promote the humanitarian and economic conditions in Yemen.
On the means to curb the Iranian influence, he said: “There are already concerted efforts by the international community to get Iran out of the scene in Yemen, but Tehran is trying to convince everyone that it can contribute to the solution in an attempt to ease the pressure exerted by the United Nations.”
“Everyone knows well that Iran’s intervention in Yemen is an additional disaster for the suffering of the people. We have spoken with the European Community very frankly that Iran is the problem in Yemen and cannot be part of the solution,” the minister said.