April 18, 2015 / 9:39 AM / in 2 years

China's Xi urges Yemen resolution in call with Saudi king

Chinese President Xi Jinping waits to welcome French Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing January 30, 2015.Fred Dufour/Pool

BEIJING (Reuters) - Efforts should be stepped up to seek a political solution to the crisis in Yemen, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Saudi Arabia's King Salman in a telephone call, China's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

A Saudi-led coalition began an air campaign on March 25 after Yemen's Houthi rebels, who run most of the country, closed in on the southern port city of Aden and forced the Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour to flee to Riyadh.

China, a low-key diplomatic player in the Middle East despite its reliance on oil from the region, has previously expressed concern at the upsurge in violence in Yemen and called for a political solution.

"The situation in Yemen concerns the security and stability of the Middle East, especially the Gulf region, and efforts on the political resolution process for the Yemen issue ought to be speeded up," Xi said, according to the Foreign Ministry.

All parties should follow the decisions of the United Nations Security Council and proposals by the Gulf Cooperation Council to ensure stability and normalcy is returned to in Yemen as soon as possible, Xi added.

"China is willing to keep in close touch and coordinate with all parties to jointly push for an appropriate resolution at the earliest stage for the Yemen issue," he said.

The Foreign Ministry said the call was made on Friday.

Salman explained Saudi Arabia's position on Yemen to Xi, and said he was willing to make efforts to resume peace and stability there as soon as possible, China's Foreign Ministry added.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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