ANKARA (Reuters) - An Iranian plane carrying aid for Yemen landed in Djibouti on Friday and the cargo will be inspected by the United Nations before it moves on, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.
The plane would be the first Iranian aid flight to land in Yemen since conflict broke out there in March between Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and the government supported by Saudi Arabia.
Two Iranian cargo planes carrying food and medicine to Yemen were forced by Saudi jets to leave Yemeni airspace in April.
“The aid plane landed early Friday morning in Djibouti safely,” said the head of Iran’s Red Crescent delegation, Sarem Rezaie, quoted by Fars.
“The cargo will be delivered to the WFP (World Food Programme), which will give it to the Yemeni Red Crescent to distribute it among innocent Yemeni people,” said Rezaie, who was onboard the plane.
An Iranian aid ship, originally bound for the Yemen’s Red Sea port of Houthi-controlled Hodaida, docked in Djibouti last week after Tehran agreed to allow an international inspection of the vessel.
Iran had agreed to hand over the cargo to the WFP in Djibouti for shipment to the Yemeni ports of Hodaida.
Tehran’s decision averted a potential showdown with Saudi-led forces who are enforcing searches of ships entering Yemeni ports to stop arms reaching the Houthi rebels.
The United States and Saudi Arabia have accused Iran of arming the Houthis. Iran denies this and has repeatedly called for a political solution to restore peace in Yemen.
Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Angus MacSwan