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Yemeni activist: Arab countries feel the threat from Iran

Nobel Peace Prize winner Towakkul Karman says Houthi started war in Yemen and Iran wants the country to be drawn into sectarian war

26.03.2015 - Update : 26.03.2015
Yemeni activist: Arab countries feel the threat from Iran


 The Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman has said Yemen wants to be drawn into a sectarian war.

Answering journalists questions after she held talks with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday, Karman said Yemeni people were against the war “which the Houthi started”.

When asked if the situation in Yemen was a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran or a sectarian war, Karman said: “They (Iran) want Yemen to be drawn into a sectarian war. Because of that, they supported Husi militia and opposed the legitimacy of President Hadi.”

Karman also said Arab countries could “feel the threat from Iran” and also from the Houthi militia.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner also said she and Cavusoglu had talked about how to spread peace inside Yemen and the Arab region.

'Strong role'

Karman said: "We discussed a lot of things, especially the Husi occupying Yemen and also the coup that happened by the militia of Husi and by the ex-President, Ali Saleh, whom we made revolution against.

"I told Cavusoglu that Turkey has to play a good and strong role in the Arab peninsula and also in Yemen because this is of national interest to Turkey and something that belongs to the values of Turkey.”

Karman said the Houthi militia had started the war in Yemen with the support of Yemen's ex-President Ali Saleh.

She said: "We as Yemeni people call Husi to stop the war. We call Husi to give their rebels to the state. We also call the state, the president, to do his work.

"We encourage Husi to be a political party, we call them not to achieve their goals by using force, supporting Ali Saleh and killing people."

'Save the people'

Several Arab states, all of them allies of Washington, have joined the Saudi-led military offensive, which kicked off with a string of overnight airstrikes against Houthi positions and assets in Yemen, including some in the capital, Sanaa.

Sunni Saudi Arabia has said the strikes were in response to Hadi's calls for military intervention in Yemen to "save the people from the Houthi militias".

Fractious Yemen has been in turmoil since last September, when the Houthis overran Sanaa and from which they have sought to extend their influence to other parts of the country.

Some Gulf countries suspect that the Houthi insurgency is supported by Shiite Iran.

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