Head of Houthi delegation Mohammed Abdul-Salam (R) and Yemeni Foreign Minister Khaled al-Yaman (L) shake hands next to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (C), during the Yemen peace talks closing press conference at the Johannesberg castle in Rimbo, near Stockholm December 13, 2018. TT News Agency/Pontus Lundahl via REUTERS
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran welcomed on Friday initial agreements reached at talks in Sweden by the opposing sides in Yemen’s war, which include the Iran-aligned Houthi group, were a step toward a final peace accord, Iranian state TV reported on Friday.
The war in Yemen is seen as a proxy war between Iran and its key regional rival Saudi Arabia. U.N.-backed talks in Sweden ended on Thursday with an agreement between the Houthis and the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to cease fighting for the Houthi-held port city of Hodeidah and withdraw their troops.
It was the first significant breakthrough for U.N.-led peace efforts in five years of conflict in Yemen. A next round of talks will be held at the end of January at which the warring parties will discuss a framework for political negotiations.
“Iran welcomes the agreement … and hopes it will pave the way for the next round of dialogue for concluding a final accord among Yemeni groups,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by TV.
“The agreement is significant. The deal showed that the Yemeni groups involved in the talks had truly understood the deplorable conditions of the innocent and oppressed Yemeni people,” Qasemi said.
A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing forces of Hadi’s internationally recognized government. The war has killed tens of thousands of people and caused a humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia accuses Tehran of supplying the Houthis with weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied this.
“Iran considers stopping of bloodshed and continuing Yemeni-Yemeni talks as the final solution for the situation in Yemen,” Qasemi said.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky