Saudi FM Meets Fabius, Says 'Not at War with Iran' in Yemenإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Saudi Arabia called on Iran to stop supporting Shiite rebels in Yemen on Sunday but Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal insisted Riyadh was not at war with Tehran.
"Unless Iran thinks it is suddenly become part of Yemen, we are not at war with Iran," he said at a press conference with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
But he also called on Tehran not to "assist the criminal activities" of the Huthi rebels "against the legitimate order of Yemen and (to) stop the delivery of weapons and aid" to the militiamen.
Fabius, who met with King Salman and other top Saudi officials during a visit to Riyadh, said France was ready to work on resolving the crisis in Yemen.
"France has expressed its readiness to find a solution" for Yemen, he said.
Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of several Arab countries which since March 26 has carried out air strikes against the Huthis, who overran the capital Sanaa in September and have expanded to other parts of Yemen.
Riyadh fears the rebels would take over the entire country and move it into the orbit of Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia's regional rival.
Saud said the kingdom intervened at the request of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled the Huthi advance for Riyadh.
Iran has rejected accusations of arming the rebels and its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the coalition's efforts as "criminal acts."
Turning to the Iranian nuclear file, Fabius said important questions have not been settled and "there remains work to do" before a final deal to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"What has been concluded is positive," Fabius said of the framework agreement reached early this month between Tehran and six major powers including France.
It marked a major breakthrough in a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West, which fears Tehran wants to build an atomic bomb. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
In exchange for limits on Iran's nuclear capabilities the accord would lift international sanctions. A final deal is to be reached by June 30.
There must be "no possible military dimension" and there remains also the question of sanctions -- their lifting, or re-establishment if Iran violates its commitments, Fabius said.
"These two questions are not settled and there remains work to do," Fabius said.
"France hopes for a solid and verifiable agreement."
Saudi Arabia fears that if too much of Iran's nuclear program is left intact Tehran will still have the ability to obtain an atomic bomb, and there are concerns that Riyadh could seek its own nuclear capability.
"We agree in saying that a final pact must be clear so that nothing is hidden and that the Gulf remains free of all weapons of mass destruction," Saud al-Faisal said.