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Iran Welcomes Yemen Agreement As 'Promising'


Houthi delegate (L) and government delegate of Yemen Brigadier General Asker Zaeel shake hands at the negotiating table next to representatives from the UN Special Envoy for Yemen and the International Red Cross Committee. December 11, 2018

Iran has welcomed the first major diplomatic breakthrough in peace talks among Yemen’s warring parties.

Iran foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday called the UN sponsored agreement “promising”.

"We welcome the agreements between the two sides overseen by the representative of the United Nations secretary general and see the positive steps and the preliminary agreements for continued talks as promising," said spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.

After days of talks in Sweden, UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres announced that the Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen’s government and Houthi rebels agreed to a ceasefire in the vital port Hodayda (Hodeida), and all forces would be withdrawn from the city and its harbor.

Hodayda is crucial for sending food and supplies to Yemen’s population facing starvation and medical crisis.

The UN, Guterres said, would play a "leading role" in monitoring the rebel-held port and facilitate aid access for the civilian population.

Iran immediately reacted positively to the news. "This shows that Yemeni groups present in the talks well understand the sorry situation of Yemen's people, and have prefered preventing the worsening of the country's situation and the continuation of receiving humanitarian aid to their own interests," Ghasemi said.

He said Iran had played a "constructive role" in arranging the talks.

Reporting by AFP, Reuters

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