Iraq PM says Yemen could stoke regional war, slams Saudi operations

April 15, 2015 21:33

WASHINGTON - Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said on Wednesday the fighting in Yemen could engulf the region in war, and suggested after talks in Washington that US leaders shared his concerns and "want to stop this conflict as soon as possible."

Abadi, who met with US President Barack Obama on Tuesday, also said that convincing Iraq's neighbor Saudi Arabia to halt its offensive in Yemen could be difficult.

Saudi Arabia is engaged in a three-week-old campaign of air strikes against Yemen's Houthi rebels, who are allied with Iran and have taken over the capital and forced the president to take refuge in Riyadh.

Asked about Iranian efforts to broker a peace deal for Yemen, Abadi said: "From what I understand from the (Obama) administration, the Saudis are not helpful on this. They don't want a cease-fire now."

Asked whether Obama broadly shared his concerns, Abadi said the administration did.

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