Foreign Minister Meets With EU Counterpart
Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir met today with European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini. The meeting discussed bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of common interest.
Speaking at a joint news conference with the EU foreign policy chief, Minister Al-Jubeir condemned threats and statements made by Iranian officials towards Bahrain as well as other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab world countries.
On the issue of Syria, Minister Al-Jubeir reiterated the importance of finding a political solution leading to the removal of Bashar al-Assad's regime from power and maintaining the Syrian government and private institutions. He also stressed the importance of implementing reforms in Iraq, which were adopted last summer and which called for the participation of all Iraq's communities in a unified Iraqi state.
Minister Al-Jubeir said that the situation in Yemen and the humanitarian truce requested by the Yemeni President and endorsed by the coalition countries, stressing the importance of finding a political solution that would restore the legitimate authority to take Yemen out of this tragedy and transfer it to a better future.
The EU foreign policy chief expressed her satisfaction with the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and EU.” I have particularly appreciated our common visions on the Middle East Peace Process, where we in the European Union believe that the Saudi Arabia has a key role to play, in particular in reviving the Arab Peace Initiative that could be an important element of the way forward to restart the process that at the moment is not in place.” The EU foreign policy chief also said the EU and Saudi Arabia shared a common approach on the need to put an end to the war in Syria with its security consequences for the entire region.
Asked to respond to commends by Iraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki regarding the Kingdom, the foreign minister emphasized that “we have reached a conviction with respect to statements of al-Maliki over the years, and that much of what Maliki says has neither basis nor credibility.” The minister added that the “sectarian policies adopted by him during his tenure as prime minister of Iraq led to the creation of strife in Iraq and marginalization of the Sunnis, and the entry of the ISIS into Iraq. The last one to accuse the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of supporting terrorism is al-Maliki.” Minister Al-Jubeir said that the Iraqi government issued a statement that Maliki’s comments do not represent its view toward the Kingdom. “The Iraqi charge d'affaires in Riyadh was summoned and we delivered a strong-worded message with respect to these statements. I do not know why he makes such statements from time to time,” Al-Jubeir said.
“What I know is that the policies adopted by him during his tenure as prime minister in Iraq and the sectarianism promoted by him led to destruction in Iraq, unfortunately. We know that Iraqis refuse such a tone, and the people of the region and its peoples reject it as well,” Al-Jubeir said. Saudi Arabia, the minister said, is one the first countries to suffer from terrorism and at the forefront of fighting terrorism. “The Kingdom is attested by the international community in dealing firmly with terrorism, extremism, the financing of terrorism and the fight against the ISIS as part of the international coalition in Syria.”
Minister Al-Jubeir speculated that the recent escalation in bellicose statement by Iranian officials have to do with “the defeated of their allies in Yemen, with the deterioration of the situation of their ally Bashar Assad in Syria, or the international community’s conclusion that the sectarian policies that were followed in Iraq should be abandoned and reforms that were agreed upon last summer should be applied. Iran may see that these things are provoking to them.”
The minister said that the Iranian comments do not represent the intentions of a country seeking good relations. “We reject their aggressive talk about the Kingdom and the countries of the region because it does not represent good neighborliness and confirms the aggressive approach taken by Iran towards the countries of the region.”
On the situation in Yemen, the Foreign Minister stated that the Kingdom’s position, from the beginning, is that the solution in Yemen is a political solution. “Our hope was that various parties in Yemen would be able to reach a solution that ensures security and stability, but unfortunately this did not happen. The Houthis occupied and moved their militias from Saada into Amran, Sana'a, Ibb, Taiz, and Aden, and posed a direct threat to the legitimate Yemeni government, which had to request support under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter and that Saudi Arabia and the coalition countries have provided this support.” Minister Al-Jubeir added that “from the first day of military operations, we have always said that the solution in Yemen is political, and we hope that Houthis and Ali Saleh will have the wisdom to find a political solution to take out Yemen of this problem."
He pointed out that operations have continued and coalition forces achieved a recent victory in the Aden area and took control of the airport, the sea port and large parts of the city and surrounding areas. “Now we're seeing a shift in the balance of power in Yemen, and we hope that will convince the rebels and their loyalists to abandon the military option and return to the negotiating table in order to save Yemen and take it out of the crisis experienced by it,” the minister said.
The Foreign Minister said that the humanitarian truce was designed to open the way for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen, pointing out that the Kingdom has sent three relief flights, and currently there are ships that entered the port of Aden. He stressed that the Kingdom will continue to intensify the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people, and urges the international community to do the same.
With regard to the Houthis' violation of the humanitarian truce, Al-Jubeir said that it is regrettable, but the coalition are trying to establish contacts with them through the United Nations and other parties to demand that they abide by the truce to open the way for assistance to the brotherly people of Yemen. “The 'Houthis must resolve their problems with the legitimate government so as to ensure the security and stability of Yemen, and realize there is no place in Yemen to any militia out of the legitimate government and the government authority, and that the Houthis' situation in Yemen is like any other group in Yemen having the right to engage in the political process and take certain positions and they do not have a special status in Yemen and they do not have the right to have an armed militia outside the central government,” he said.
On the situation in Libya, the minister expressed concern by everyone about the situation in Libya and their desire to have a government that can control security and lead or contribute to a stabilization that takes Libya out of the tragedy it is living.