Riyadh and Tehran should clear the air

A broad-based understanding could lead to a ceasefire, and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-stricken people.



Published: Wed 17 Jun 2015, 10:36 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:50 PM

While little is known as to what transpired between the authorities of Saudi Arabia and the visiting Iranian official in their talks on Yemen, both the countries have at least made an earnest attempt to give diplomacy a chance. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian is supposed to have discussed the conflict in Yemen, as he made use of the OIC forum to reach out to the Saudis.

Incidentally, the OIC extraordinary meeting in Jeddah coincided with the United Nations-sponsored talks in Geneva, where the Houthis rebels are also invited to find a way out of the mess. The debut meeting between Saudi Arabia and Iran, since the crisis erupted in Yemen, is being closely watched and it is widely hoped that it should lead to détente in their worsening relations. Tehran’s intention would be to ask for a pause in Saudi air strikes, whereas Riyadh expects a hands-off policy in Yemen.

It’s real-politick to say the least. The irritants are too many and they need to be sorted out in real time keeping in view the upheavals unfolding in the region. The two countries must ponder over the unrest in Lebanon, Iraq, Bahrain and Syria and come up with a roadmap and do all they can to stop simmering sectarian tensions. Tehran will also be better advised to debrief Riyadh on the details of a possible nuclear deal with the P5+1, and address apprehensions in terms of security and hegemony in the region.

A broad-based understanding could lead to a ceasefire, and accelerate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the war-stricken people. The two nations need to be on the same page in the larger interests of peace and security. The bigger task, however, is to find a lasting political solution, which can happen only if they open such channels for communication.


More news from OPINION