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Iran FM, UN chief urge humanitarian aid for Yemen amid COVID-19 pandemic

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Iran's top diplomat and the UN chief have urged the necessity of ensuring security of Yemeni borders and ports in order to facilitate dispatch of humanitarian aid to the war-stricken Yemeni people amid the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.

The call came in a Sunday phone call between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which was the third of its kind during the past two weeks.

On April 10, the supreme national emergency committee for COVID-19 in Yemen said in a posting on its Twitter page that the first case of infection was diagnosed in the oil-producing southern province of Hadhramaut under the control of Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to the country’s former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

During his conversation with Zarif, the UN chief hailed Iran's efforts to help establish ceasefire in Yemen and pave the way for political dialog in the country.

In his phone call with Guterres on April 12, the top Iranian diplomat said a sustainable ceasefire in the war-torn country of Yemen sets the ground for political settlement of the crisis arising from Saudi Arabia’s five-year war against the country.

Zarif stressed that there is no military solution to the conflict in Yemen and welcomed the secretary general’s attempts to establish ceasefire in the country.

The Saudi-led coalition claimed on April 8 that it was halting military operations in Yemen in support of UN efforts to end its five-year war, which has killed tens of thousands and spread hunger and disease.

However, shortly after the announcement, the coalition’s warplanes struck positions at several Yemeni regions, including Sa’ada, Amran, and al-Bayda, according to Yemen’s al-Masirah TV.

The chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, on Saturday dismissed the Saudi-led coalition’s extension of the unilateral ceasefire in the war-ravaged Arab country by one month, saying Yemenis are expecting serious actions rather than words, which are simply media maneuver.

“Over the past two weeks, what we witnessed ran counter to what was declared since there were upticks in bombardments as well as escalation [of clashes] on all fronts by the alliance,” Houthi wrote in a post published on his Twitter page.

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Iran FM holds phone call with Omani, Iraqi, UAE counterparts

The Iranian foreign minister also on Sunday held separate phone talks with his counterparts from Iraq, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, Yusuf bin Alawi, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, respectively.

The top diplomats discussed bilateral relations, the latest developments in the region and the battle against the coronavirus.

Zarif also offered his congratulation to his counterparts on the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

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