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Iran and Turkey 'agree to stop war in Yemen'

Turkey and Iran have agreed on the need for a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen. Turkish President Erdogan held a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Rouhani in Tehran amid deteriorating bilateral ties.

In a joint press conference with visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the war in Yemen was high on the agenda during his talks with the Turkish leader.

"We talked about Iraq, Syria, Palestine … We had a long discussion about Yemen. We both think that war and bloodshed must stop in this area immediately, and a complete ceasefire must be established," Rouhani said, adding that the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen must halt.

The Iranian president said he hoped that Turkey and Iran could end the Yemen war "with the help of other countries in the region" and bring "peace, stability" to the Middle Eastern country.

Turkey has joined the Saudi-led coalition conducting airstrikes against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen

, who have captured several key Yemeni cities including the capital Sanaa and

the southern port city of Aden

.

Riyadh accuses Tehran of supporting Houthis in toppling President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's government. Iran denies the allegations.

For his part, Erdogan chose not to comment directly on Yemen's conflict in the press conference, but talked in detail about his country's relations with Iran, and civil wars in Syria and Iraq.

"We discussed Iraq. A hundred thousand people have been killed there. So far, more than 300 thousand have been killed in Syria. All were Muslims. We do not know who is killing who," Erdogan said.

"We have to get united and stop the killing and bloodshed. We have to bring together those who are fighting," the Turkish leader added.

Erdogan, a Sunni who in the past had accused Tehran's Shiite government of trying to dominate the region, downplayed

the Sunni-Shiite conflict in the Middle East

.

"I don't look at the sect… We have to put an end to this bloodshed, this death," said Erdogan.

Economic dependency

Analysts say that despite their geopolitical differences, both Tehran and Ankara are aware of the bilateral trade benefits.

The two presidents signed eight new agreements on Tuesday to boost trade and economic cooperation.

In the past, the two neighboring countries have disputed over the price of natural gas. Turkey, which imports 10 billion cubic meters of Iranian gas per year, took Iran to the International Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland in 2012 after Iran rejected its complaint that the price was too high.

Erdogan said on Tuesday that his country would buy more natural gas from Iran if the Shiite state lowers the rates.

shs/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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