Riyadh – British Ambassador to Yemen Simon Shercliff stressed his country’s support to Saudi Arabia’s right to defend its land and people from regional threats.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Shercliff raised concerns over reports on Iranian arms smuggling operations across the Yemeni borders located along the Red Sea.
While the ambassador said that Saudi Arabia had the full right to defend its people and territories from any lurking threats, he expressed serious worries over the continuous flow of Iranian arms into Yemen, in a blatant violation to UN Security Council Resolution 2216.
“The future of Yemen depends on a sustainable political solution, and we ask Iran to support such solution,” he said.
Shercliff, who recently met with Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said that the roadmap outlined by UN Special Envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed has converged with the outcome of Kuwait talks on Yemen and the plan proposed by former US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Shercliff noted in this regard that the roadmap stressed the need for the Houthi insurgents to offer military compromises in return for political compromises by the legitimate government.
Asked about British efforts to resolve Yemen’s crisis, the official said: “Britain, in its capacity of member in the Security Council, has participated in two rounds of talks on Yemen in New York.”
“Next Wednesday, International Envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed would present a new update on the situation in Yemen to the Security Council,” he added.
Shercliff said that the five-sided group on Yemen was reviewing a mechanism to support efforts deployed by the international envoy to find a political solution to end the Yemeni war.
He stressed the importance of a “greater role”, which could be assumed by Yemen’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, in achieving a sustainable solution to the crisis.
The British ambassador stated that the Kingdom and Yemen share important “historic and geographic ties”, adding that relations between the two countries should be based on mutual respect.
While he pointed out to the severely deteriorating situation in the Arab country, Shercliff called for the urgent need to allow the access of humanitarian assistance to the war-stricken residents.
“We are currently mobilizing voices to support UN efforts in this regard, and we have backed a UN mechanism to inspect ships coming to Yemen in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” the ambassador said.