Saudi king tells Iran to end militias’ support for talks to continue

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud expressed hope Wednesday that the kingdom’s direct talks with Iran will lead to confidence-building and tangible results that pave the way to achieving the aspirations of the region’s people.

The king, however, cautioned that relations must be based on respect of national sovereignty and the cessation of support for sectarian militias, in apparent reference to the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen.

Iran and Saudi Arabia, two bitter regional rivals, have been taking small steps toward dialogue following several years of heightened tensions.

King Salman, who described Iran as a neighbour of Saudi Arabia, made Wednesday’s remarks in a pre-recorded speech delivered to leaders gathered for the UN General Assembly.

Riyadh views negotiations with Tehran as essential for a solution in Yemen, a vision based on the conviction that the Houthis have so far  been intransigent to serve a broader strategy that Iran is pursuing to score wins on different fronts, whether in its disputes with Saudi Arabia, differences with other countries in the region or in nuclear negotiations.

In this respect, observers consider that the Kingdom has become increasingly convinced that dialogue with Iran is the best way to resolve current crises, including the Yemeni conflict.

Turning to the fighting in Yemen, the Saudi king said on Wednesday that the Houthi militias keep rejecting the initiatives offered through the United Nations to peacefully resolve the conflict.

“The peace initiative in Yemen, tabled by the Kingdom last March, sought to end the bloodshed and conflict. It ought to put an end to the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people,” the king said.

“Unfortunately, the terrorist Houthi militias reject peaceful solutions. They have placed their bets on a military option to take over more territory in Yemen,” he added.

Some months ago, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah unveiled proposals to end the war in Yemen, including a ceasefire across the country, under the supervision of the United Nations.

Source: The Arab Weekly

Also Read: Yemeni Houthi rebels admit Iran supplies missiles used to attack Saudi Arabia

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