Swedish FM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Stockholm Deal Must Be Implemented in Yemen
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom stressed the urgent need to reach a political solution to the crisis in Yemen and spare the people more suffering.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat while visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time, she also underlined the importance of implementing the Stockholm agreement, saying it was one of the central elements of the political process.
She said that her tour of the region is part of efforts to ensure the implementation of the deal that was reached between the legitimate government and Iran-backed Houthi militias in the Swedish capital in December 2018. It called for a ceasefire in the coastal province of Hodeidah and redployment of forces.
In Jeddah, she held talks with Yemeni Prime Minister Moeen Abdulmalek. Discussions focused on bilateral relations and developments in the war-torn country.
They addressed the rebellion by the Southern Transitional Council in the South and the Houthis’ ongoing obstruction of the Stockholm deal.
Wallstrom stated that the international community was closely monitoring the situation in Yemen, stressing that it is keen on restoring peace and stability and end the humanitarian crisis.
Sweden supports Saudi Arabia’s calls for dialogue to contain the crisis in Aden, she added.
She remarked that her country has no hidden agenda in the region and solely hopes to end the suffering of the people.
On Iran, she demanded that navigation in the Hormuz Strait be secured, demanding that Tehran release the Stena Imperno vessel that was seized by the Revolutionary Guards in July.
The vessel is British-owned but operated by Swedish company Stena Bulk.
On Syria, Wallstrom said Stockholm and the European Union were awaiting the formation of a constitutional committee for the country. They also underscore the need to begin a “credible” political process.
Sweden will continue to support the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, she pledged.
Commenting on Saudi-Swedish relations, the minister described them as important, adding that the Kingdom was an important trade partner for Sweden in the Middle East.
She hailed the significant steps Saudi Arabia has taken in boosting women’s rights, saying she hopes for further progress in this regard.
In Jeddah, Wallstrom held talks with her Saudi counterpart Ibrahim al-Assaf and later with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.
Discussions focused on bilateral relations and the latest regional and international developments.