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Al-Mekhlafi to Asharq Al-Awsat: Tehran Resorts to Blackmail to Link Syrian, Yemeni Files  | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi. Reuters

Jeddah- The Yemeni government reiterated on Tuesday that it rejects Iran’s efforts to internationalize the Yemeni file by linking it to the Syrian crisis.

“Iran is trying to link the Syrian and Yemeni files in order to blackmail the legitimate government in Yemen and neighboring countries, including Saudi Arabia,” Yemeni Foreign Minister and deputy Prime Minister Abdulmalek al-Mekhlafi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Tuesday.

Mekhlafi asserted that such attempts would fail because the international community, which is divided concerning the Syrian and Libyan files, has a combined position towards the Yemeni file.

“What is happening in Yemen is between the legitimate government and rebels and not a civil war,” the foreign minister said.

He also confirmed that the Yemeni file is very different from other regional files, which haven’t been closed yet for several reasons.

During his meetings in the US, Mekhlafi said US officials expressed their support to the Yemeni legitimate government and praised the role of the cabinet in accepting all demands related to peace and in facilitating the delivery of international aid in Yemen.

Commenting on the issue of handing over Hodeidah, the foreign minister said that rebels do not wish to reach peace or to lessen the sufferings of the Yemeni people. “Our government accepted the plan to solve the Hodeida issue and we also showed strong flexibility in this regard by not insisting on a comprehensive solution. However, the insurgents’ objection revealed the true and horrible face of those militias,” he said.

In August, UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed spoke about a new UN roadmap in Hodeidah as the start of a comprehensive solution to the Yemeni crisis.

There were several requests to place the coastal city under UN supervision to facilitate the flow of humanitarian supplies to the Yemeni people, and end the use of the port for weapons smuggling and people trafficking.

Commenting on the existing channels with Russian officials, Mekhlafi said: “There is continuous dialogue with the Russian side and I am planning to visit Moscow soon.”

He added that the Russians are seeking to send a clear message to the rebels to abide by the peace requirements.