DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Middle East affairs will discuss Yemen’s conflict at a meeting of a pan-Islamic body hosted by its regional rival Saudi Arabia, the Iranian Mehr news agency reported on Monday.
Saudi Arabia and Iran, which back opposing sides in Yemen’s almost three-month-old conflict, have accused each other of meddling in Yemen’s internal affairs and destabilizing the region.
Hossein Amir Abdollahian will join other officials from the Islamic world on Tuesday at a one-day extraordinary meeting in Jeddah of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, called to discuss Yemen’s war, Mehr reported.
Abdollahian’s trip will be the first time a senior Iranian official has visited the kingdom since Riyadh assembled an alliance of Sunni Arab countries in March to bomb Shi’ite Houthi forces and their allies, who control much of Yemen.
Riyadh and its allies accuse Tehran of arming the Houthis, an accusation that the Shi’ite Islamic Republic denies.
Peace talks were due to open in Geneva later on Monday between the warring Yemeni factions including the Houthis, forces loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh that support them, and the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which has fled from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.
Reporting by Sam Wilkin; Editing by William Maclean and Kevin Liffey