Iraq has offered to mediate between warring parties in Yemen in an effort to end the country’s years-long war, Iraq’s top diplomat said at a press conference on Sunday.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein put forward the proposal during a visit from his Yemeni counterpart.
Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in 2014, before a Saudi-led military coalition intervened the following year on the side of the country’s internationally recognised government.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died in the fighting or from indirect causes such as lack of food in what the United Nations has called one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.
A six-month truce brokered by the United Nations expired in October last year, but fighting has largely remained on hold.
“Currently, there is an unofficial truce. In practice, there is some form of ceasefire. We hope this situation leads to dialogue between all Yemeni parties,” Hussein emphasised during a press conference with Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak.
“Iraq is ready to help in this matter. We have good relations with all parties. We can use our influence for stability and security in Yemen, and we can act on a regional level,” he stated.
Iraq seeks role as mediator with regional summit
Baghdad has consistently tried to highlight its role as a regional mediator, and hosted several rounds of relatively low-level talks between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia from April 2021.
In March, Riyadh and Tehran announced a resumption of diplomatic relations in a surprise deal brokered by Beijing. The reconciliation raised hopes for peace in Yemen.
“Unfortunately, for now, we have not seen any direct impact of this agreement on the situation in Yemen,” the Yemeni minister said in his speech.
“But we remain hopeful,” he added. “We believe the time has come to put an end to this war in Yemen.”
In April Riyadh’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed al-Jaber, travelled to Sanaa as part of a plan to “stabilise” the truce. Although no deal was struck, Jaber later said warring parties are serious about ending the conflict.