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UN envoy, Iran's Zarif discuss how to end war in Yemen

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on January 26, 2021 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Moscow, Russia on January 26, 2021 [Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency]

United Nations Yemen mediator Martin Griffiths and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed on Monday how to make progress toward a nationwide ceasefire and reviving the political process in Yemen, a UN spokesman said, Reuters reported.

A Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen in 2015, backing government forces fighting the Iran-aligned Houthis. The more than six-year-long conflict is widely seen as a proxy conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

It is Griffiths first visit to Iran since becoming the UN envoy three years ago.

Zarif and Griffiths "exchanged views on Yemen and how to make progress towards a resumption of the political process", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

READ: Yemen's warring sides resume prisoner swap talks in Jordan

"Mr Zarif and Mr Griffiths further discussed the urgent need to make progress towards a nationwide ceasefire, the opening of Sanaa airport, and the easing of restrictions on Hudaydah ports."

He added that Griffiths welcomed Iran's expression of support for the UN efforts to end the conflict in Yemen.

While Griffiths office said the visit to Iran had been planned for some time, it comes after new US President Joe Biden declared last week that the war in Yemen "has to end" and said Washington would halt support for the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign against the Houthis.

The United States also said on Friday it intends to revoke its terrorist designation of the Houthis to avoid worsening Yemen's humanitarian crisis. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world's biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need and millions on the verge of famine.

READ: Yemen's Houthis won't abandon peace efforts over US designation, says chief negotiator

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International OrganisationsIranMiddle EastNewsUNYemen
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