Middle East

Iran says working to help Yemen form unity government to fix crisis

 Iran says Yemeni factions should form a national unity government to resolve the crisis there and that it is working to help achieve that, a senior Iranian official said on Wednesday.

Morteza Sarmadi, deputy foreign minister, reiterated Iran's call for an immediate halt to the two-week-old military campaign being led by Saudi Arabia against Yemeni Houthis who have seized much of Yemen and forced its Saudi-backed president to flee.

Speaking at a news conference in Beirut, Sarmadi said Yemen could not be governed by one political faction alone.

"All influential and active political currents and factions" with popular backing should stand together "to form a government of national unity that can govern Yemeni affairs in the best way possible", he said.

"We, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, are undertaking all good initiatives and efforts that help in reaching this political solution," he said.

Sarmadi said Yemen had been the focus of discussions he had held in Algeria, Tunisia,Iraq and Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of providing military support to the Houthis, a charge the Islamic Republic denies.

The Saudi-led campaign has failed stop the Houthis and allied soldiers loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from pushing into the port city of Aden, from where Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced to flee last month.

Iran sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, state media reported.

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