Yemen: Saudi ask Pakistan to fight; Iran-Turkey seek ceasefire


Pakistan’s defense minister told Parliament on Monday that Saudi Arabia had asked Pakistan for aircraft, warships and soldiers to join its offensive against the Houthis in Yemen, possibly signaling Saudi plans to expand its war there.

The Saudi government, backed by other Persian Gulf countries and the United States, started its campaign against the Houthis in late March, relying primarily on air power. Yet nearly two weeks of airstrikes have failed to stop the Houthi advance, including into Aden, Yemen’s second-largest city.

The Saudis and their allies have repeatedly raised the possibility of a ground invasion, which analysts say would most likely rely heavily on foreign troops, including those from close Saudi allies like Pakistan or Egypt.

Turkey and Iran have agreed on the need for a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen. Turkish President Erdogan held a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Rouhani in Tehran amid deteriorating bilateral ties.

In a joint press conference with visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the war in Yemen was high on the agenda during his talks with the Turkish leader.

“We talked about Iraq, Syria, Palestine … We had a long discussion about Yemen. We both think that war and bloodshed must stop in this area immediately, and a complete ceasefire must be established,” Rouhani said, adding that the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen must halt.

The Iranian president said he hoped that Turkey and Iran could end the Yemen war “with the help of other countries in the region” and bring “peace, stability” to the Middle Eastern country.

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