UN envoy to Yemen to visit Iran

May 21, 2015 4:35 am 

TEHRAN, May 20 — UN envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, will visit Iran to discuss the situation in the war-torn country, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Wednesday.

"We have contacts with the UN envoy and we offered political solutions to the crisis in Yemen. He will arrive in Tehran Thursday to discuss the issues," Afkham said in her weekly press conference.

Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, a Mauritanian diplomat, was appointed as UN envoy to Yemen in April.

Iran ascribes an important role to the UN in talks over Yemen. Iran is ready to assist in the progress of political talks among the Yemeni parties involved in the conflict, Afkham said.

"From the start, we proposed dialogue among Yemeni parties and Iran's role here is to help the progress of talks," she added.

Afkham condemned what she termed military aggression on Yemen, urging foreign countries to refrain from interfering in the Arab state's internal affairs.

She dismissed charges claiming Iran plays a role in the ongoing Yemeni conflict. "Such claims are unacceptable and provocative," she said.

Asked about Iran's aid mission to Yemen, she said that Iran's decision to dispatch the aid ship to the country was in coordination with the UN.

"If this coordination is not respected (by the Saudi-led coalition), it will incite our reaction and that of the international community," she warned.

Last week, the Iranian aid ship Rescue Ship with 2,500 tons of food supplies and medicine left the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas and headed for Yemen via the Gulf of Aden.

Iran warned against attempts to target its aid ship. "Attacking the ship will launch a regional war," Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said Wednesday.

Iran deployed its 34th fleet, comprising the Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz destroyer, to the high seas, Commander of Iran's First Naval Zone Admiral Amir Hossein Azad said Sunday.

The Iranian navy is fully prepared to conduct its mission of escorting the aid ship to the Yemeni port of Hodeidah, according to the ship's captain Masoud Qazi Mirsaeed.

The fleet is patrolling the Gulf of Aden, the north of the Indian Ocean and the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb to secure naval routes and defend Iran's interests, Azad was quoted as saying by Press TV.

Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of arming and financing Houthi fighters, an accusation strongly rejected by Tehran. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAP/SSC

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