Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir Press Conference Opening Remarks
Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir
Press Briefing, Opening Remarks
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Washington, DC
Good afternoon everybody, I’m Adel Al-Jubeir, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, I want to welcome you to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia and I wanted to make some brief remarks about the summit meeting today between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and President Barack Obama at the White House. It was a very positive and very productive and very fruitful meeting, it lasted almost three hours. There was a short meeting – not short – a small group meeting in the beginning between the two leaders that was in the Oval Office that was followed by a lunch with an expanded group of people.
The two leaders were able to cover a very very wide range of issues of which is a tribute to our testament to the breadth and the strength of the relationship between us and our various areas of cooperation that exists between the two countries. The two leaders expressed their commitment to further strengthen and deepen and broaden this strong and historic and strategic relationship, and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his appreciation to the President for his hospitality and for the very productive discussions that took place between the two leaders. The President acknowledged the Kingdom’s leadership role in the Arab and Islamic World.
The two parties affirmed the need to maintain security, prosperity, and stability in the region and in particular they also agreed on ways to counter Iran’s negative activities in the region. The President and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques talked about the nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 countries. The President explained and affirmed that the agreement prevents Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, has a robust and unprecedented inspection regime that includes inspections of all sites, including military and suspected sites, and that has a provision for snapback of the sanctions should Iran violate the terms of their agreement.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was satisfied with these assurances after having spent the last two months consulting with our allies in Europe and other places with regards to this agreement, and we believe this agreement will contribute to security and stability in the region by preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear capability, and we hope that the Iranians will avail themselves of this opportunity in order to use the openness to the world and the additional income that they will receive to fund domestic development rather than engage in various activities in the region.
The two leaders also discussed the military cooperation between the two countries and ways of enhancing it and streamlining it and ways of fast tracking the release of military technologies and weapon systems to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They also discussed areas of cooperation in terms of cyber security, ballistic civil defense, maritime security, counterterrorism, and other areas.
The two leaders also discussed of course the importance of confronting terrorism and extremism and the financing of terrorism. The two countries have had as you all know a very strong and robust relationship when it comes to counterterrorism. Both countries are targets of terrorists and both countries have expended tremendous resources in order to take on the terrorism and extremism. And the two leaders also agreed that in order to be effective in fighting terrorism and extremism we must continue to broaden the international coalition against terrorism and make sure that we have more partner countries around the world that are part of this effort.
Of course the two leaders discussed regional issues, they discussed the situation in Yemen, the importance of arriving at a political solution based on UN Security Counselor Resolution 2216 and the GCC initiative and the outcomes of the national dialogue in Yemen. They both expressed their concerns about the humanitarian situation in Yemen and the need to work expeditiously to try to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques reaffirmed the Kingdom’s commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to Yemen as we have been through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center as well as through the direct assistance we are providing on a daily basis through the ports and airports of Yemen.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also expressed the steps that the Kingdom would like to take in order to ensure that we can have more facilities through which aid can flow, in particular the ports along the Red Sea, and we would like to see the United Nations take supervision of these ports in order to open more avenues to be able to provide and deliver vetted humanitarian assistance to Yemen.
The two leaders of course discussed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and the need to work towards a two-state solution in which we have two states living side by side in peace and security. And they also underscored the importance of the two sides taking steps to ensure that the two-state solution remains viable and remains possible.
They also talked about Syria, and the importance of finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria based on the principles of Geneva-1 where we have a transitional council that would have executive power and we have the removal or the stepping down of Bashar Al-Assad who has lost all legitimacy and has no role in the future of Syria.
The discussions also focused on the fight against Daesh in both Iraq and Syria and the importance of implementing the political reforms that were agreed to in Iraq last summer that would lead to an inclusive government in Iraq that represents all of Iraq’s ethnic groups and all of Iraq’s religious group, which we believe will contribute to national unity and will contribute to the effectiveness of Iraq’s counterterrorism efforts and will contribute to the greater cohesion in the Iraq and national unity in Iraq.
The two sides also expressed support for Lebanon and the importance of the Lebanese factions going beyond their sectarian differences and electing a president in Yemen so the country can move towards a situation where decisions can be made and where the current crisis situation or current standoff is overcome. The two leaders also discussed the world economic situations, both being members of the G-20, both being very large trading partners, both having investments around the globe.
They also discussed the issue of global climate change and the importance of working together to secure a better and healthier future for all of us with the understanding that each country, and in particular Saudi Arabia, has special circumstances that must be taken into account when looking at the environmental issues. The Kingdom’s officials were able to brief the President on the steps that the Kingdom is taking with regards to alternative energies and with regards to countering global warming.
They also highlighted the cooperation between our two countries in the fields of energy and in the fields of environmental protection. There were also discussions with regards to the global health situation and the global health security and the close cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, our Health Ministry and the Department of Human Services in the US, as well as with the Center for Disease Control in the US, and the fact that we have people on the ground working with us with regards to confronting or dealing with issues such as MERS. We believe that this is an area, both sides believe that this is an area that merits greater cooperation not only between us, but between us and other countries in order to ensure that we have a safer world, in particular with the increased ease of travel and the increased number of people on this very fragile planet.
And we had a discussion where the two leaders discussed the implementation of a new strategic partnership for the 21st century between the two countries where we will take the relationship that is already very strong and very very robust in all areas and elevate it to an entirely new level.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques directed His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Deputy Crown Prince, to brief the President on our views with regards to this strategic partnership. And the President and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques directed officials in both governments to work expeditiously, to look into setting up the modalities and the framework for such a partnership. We believe that this visit is a tremendously important visit, it is a landmark visit in terms of the bilateral relationship. In 1945 we had the first meeting between a Saudi monarch and an American president when the late King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman met with the late President Franklin Roosevelt and set the stage for what became a strategic relationship between our two countries.
During this visit I believe the two leaders were able to take this relationship and set the stage for moving it forward over the next 70 years and we look forward to working with our American partners and American friends in developing a relationship that would be much broader and much deeper that will involve a much greater component of economic and financial investments in both countries and that will involve cooperation in many areas between us for the benefit of both our people and our countries.