News ID: 320924
Published: 0256 GMT April 10, 2022

Cease-fire watershed in ending Yemen war: Former Iran envoy

Cease-fire watershed in ending Yemen war: Former Iran envoy

A string of political developments has occurred in Yemen, enhancing prospects for ending a seven-year-old war waged by Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies against the Ansarullah movement. Days after a two-month cease-fire brokered by the United Nations came to force in Yemen, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, the self-proclaimed president, stepped aside on Thursday and handed over all his powers to a newly-formed Presidential Leadership Council. In an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, former Iranian ambassador to Yemen Morteza Rahimi said the temporary truce could be a turning point in bringing the Saudi-led aggression to an end.

IRAN DAILY: How do you see the cease-fire in Yemen and Hadi’s resignation? Could these developments pave the ground for a truce?

RAHIMI: It has been seven years since the Saudi-led coalition launched its aggression against Yemen. Since then, the Yemeni people have faced war and aggression on the one hand, and economic sanctions and siege on the other. The two-month cease-fire, which came into effect after intense fighting in recent months, seems to be an important and positive development. A cease-fire has been on the agenda for a long time, but was not achieved for various reasons, just as a call for an end to the siege of Yemen has been one of the issues of the peace talks. Lifting the blockade and importing goods needed by the Yemeni people could pave the way for a more serious truce and peace. Various views and proposals have been put forward on the Yemeni crisis. The Islamic Republic of Iran has already made its proposal, the main focus of which has been to declare a cease-fire, lift the economic blockade of the Yemeni people, and hold Yemeni-Yemeni talks.

Fortunately, a cease-fire has been established in Yemen between the warring parties in the runup to the fasting month of Ramadan. This could be a turning point on the way to ending the war. All countries that follow the developments in Yemen, including the Islamic Republic of Iran and the parties involved in Yemen, have welcomed the cease-fire agreement. Although the Ansarullah group, which is a party to the war and defense against foreign aggression, has not yet achieved all its demands, namely the complete lifting of sanctions and economic blockade, it seems that the ground has been prepared for the start of talks.

In addition to the cease-fire, the warring sides agreed that several ships carrying oil derivatives would dock in Hodeida in two months, and Sana’a Airport would restart operating on a limited basis, with two commercial flights a week to Jordan and Egypt.

This cease-fire agreement should be seen as a positive starting point for peace, but cautiously. Because it is not clear whether the countries that launched a military aggression against Yemen have come to their senses and are going to stop the war or want to get what they did not obtain through the war at the negotiating table. Ansarullah and its supporters, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, must pay attention to this point, so that the Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue can finally begin.

 

Do you think the Ansarullah movement would sit down for talks with other Yemeni and foreign parties involved in the war?

Yes, it would. Ansarullah's position from the outset was in favor of Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue. It opposed foreign intervention and saw it as an obstacle to domestic dialogue. Even now, it seems that certain countries are interfering in the internal affairs of Yemen, determining the composition of forces for national dialogue, within the territory of a country that itself launched the invasion of Yemen and has been bombing the people of this country for years.

 

Do you mean the Presidential Leadership Council, which was formed in Saudi Arabia with the resignation of Hadi?

Yes, I mean the council and Saudi Arabia, which wants to bring the representatives of various Yemeni organizations and parties around the table in a Saudi city. But is Saudi Arabia qualified to host such talks? Does Ansarullah want to attend such a meeting? The answer to both questions is no. As a rule, the meeting should be held in Yemen, or at least in a neutral country.

 

Will the experiences gained over the past seven years of war and the devastating consequences of the conflict force the warring parties to give up their maximalist demands for peace?  Will Yemen move toward the formation of a national government?

It seems that different experiences have led all parties to back down on their maximalist demands. Ansarullah is now the leading force in Yemen. In the past, Ansarullah’s capacity was compared to smaller groups, but now the situation is different, and Ansarullah can claim to play a pivotal and decisive role in a future government. However, if the talks between the various Yemeni groups become serious, Ansarullah may also budge on this position and give in to a coalition government that would be formed based on the social, political and military capacities of all groups and parties.

Although lasting peace in Yemen is not something that can be achieved in the short term, the announcement of a cease-fire and the start of dialogue is positive, especially since the killing of Muslims by Muslims has stopped during Ramadan. International organizations and regional countries must also help start these internal talks and bring about a desired outcome. It seems that one of the main topics of several rounds of talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia has been to help end the war in Yemen. And now with Iran welcoming the fifth round of Tehran-Riyadh talks, efforts for peace in Yemen will surely intensify.

It is worthy of note that Saudi Araba’s current position for a cease-fire and moving toward talks in Yemen is the result of the firm resistance of the Yemeni people and the Ansarullah movement. The Yemenis have shown that they stand against excessive demands and aggression at any cost, and they are confident that these expenses and resistance will pay off some day.

 

 

   
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