(AFP) – Nov 11, 2009
TEHRAN — Iran said on Wednesday it is ready to cooperate with the government of Yemen to restore security there, a day after it warned other regional countries against intervening in the Arabian Peninsula state.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki also called for a "collective approach" to help restore peace and stability in Yemen, which is battling a Shiite rebellion in the north.
"Iran is prepared to cooperate with the government of Yemen and other nations in order to restore security" in Yemen, Mottaki told a news conference.
He said the continuing crisis in Yemen can be resolved by "collective efforts" to "help the people and government of the country."
"It can restore security, peace and tranquillity among the people of Yemen and the whole region," Mottaki said.
"Any measure in contrast of such approach will serve the enemies of Islamic and Arab states. We believe that any approach other than this will not serve the interests of regional nations."
On Tuesday, Mottaki warned against regional intervention in Yemen, where Shiite rebels and Saudi troops have been engaged in fighting in the border area for the past week.
The foreign minister did not identify Saudi Arabia by name but told reporters that countries in the region "must seriously hold back from intervening in Yemen's internal affairs."
"Those who pour oil on the fire must know that they will not be spared from the smoke that billows," he said.
Yemeni government forces launched Operation Scorched Earth against the Zaidi rebels in the north on August 11 and the conflict widened last week when neighbouring Saudi Arabia also entered the fray.
Saudi forces have been shelling rebel positions on the 2,000-metre (6,600-foot) Jebel al-Dukhan peak straddling the border since last Wednesday, after rebels killed a border guard and occupied two Saudi villages.
The government in Sanaa has accused Iran of supporting the rebels, and in October announced it had captured five Iranians attempting to smuggle a boatload of weapons to them.
A Saudi source told AFP there was no evidence of active Iranian involvement in the conflict.
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