Deputy FM, ICRC Chief Discuss Aid to Yemen

Deputy FM, ICRC Chief Discuss Aid to Yemen

In a phone conversation on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer discussed ways to facilitate the shipment of humanitarian aid to Yemen.

Pointing to the escalating human catastrophe in Yemen, Amir Abdollahian called on the international community to get more actively involved in the efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in the war-torn country, IRNA reported.

He expressed Iran's readiness to "closely cooperate" with international organizations in this regard.

The deputy foreign minister for Arab and African Affairs complained to the ICRC president about Riyadh's blocking of Iran's humanitarian aid to Yemen, saying, "Saudi Arabia does not cooperate in the process of humanitarian aid delivery to Yemen and transfer of the injured to receive treatment."

His remarks came after two Iranian cargo planes destined for Yemen were intercepted by Saudi fighter jets, one on Thursday and the other on Friday, and were forced to leave Yemen's airspace.

This is while, the flights, carrying humanitarian and medical aid along with some wounded Yemenis who had been hospitalized and treated in Iran, both had obtained the required "legal permissions" to enter Yemen's airspace, Amir Abdollahian added.

Maurer, for his part, said ICRC welcomes Iran's cooperation in delivering humanitarian assistance to the war-wracked country, adding, "After Saudi Arabia's announcement that it was ending its military operation (against Yemen), we started our aid delivery efforts and have had intense consultations with the Arab kingdom on the issue."

"Beginning a relief operation necessitates the full cessation of the military operation."

Riyadh released a statement on Tuesday, announcing an end to almost a month of air campaign against Yemen. However, it resumed air strikes and ground fighting a few hours later. ICRC described the humanitarian situation as "catastrophic."

***Saudi Envoy Summoned

The interception of Iran's planes by Saudi fighter jets prompted the foreign ministry to summon the charge d'affaires of the Arab country on Friday to protest the move.

Another unnamed foreign ministry official also commented on the issue, describing the measure as a blatant intervention in Yemen's internal affairs, stressing the Islamic Republic will continue with its efforts to provide the Yemeni people with help and those wounded with treatment.

Saudi Arabia launched its aerial attacks on March 26 - without a United Nations mandate - in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and to restore power to the country's fugitive former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, allied to Riyadh.
The Saudi aggression against Yemen has left nearly 1,000 people dead, among them 100 children, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Regarding Riyadh's decision to proceed with its air raids despite its Tuesday's statement, US officials have said the Saudis had indicated they would continue to bomb as deemed necessary, Reuters reported.


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