Iran 'part of the problem' in Yemen: top diplomat

A newly-recruited Huthi fighter looks through the scope of a sniper rifle while taking part in a gathering in the capital Sanaa in July 2017 (AFP)

United Nations - 

Iran, accused of supporting Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, "is part of the problem, not the solution" when it comes to ending conflict in the war-torn nation, Yemen's top diplomat said Monday.

"Iran is the cause of the problem, Iran continues to support the Huthis, Iranian arms are smuggled. Iran is part of the problem, not the solution,"  Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said when asked if Tehran could contribute to a political solution in Yemen. 

He was speaking at UN headquarters after a major luncheon hosted by Yemen and Saudi Arabia with the majority of diplomatic missions to the United Nations. 

"Iran has no role to play in the region," echoed the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi.

Saudi humanitarian aid to Yemen is estimated to top 8.2 billion dollars.

The Saudi-led military coalition largely controls the country's airspace, although US drones also carry out strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda bases there.

More than 8,300 people have been killed and 44,000 wounded since the Saudi-led coalition entered the Yemen war in 2015. 

Close to 2,000 Yemenis have also died of cholera since April and another 600,000 are expected to contract the infection this year. 

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