KSA, Turkey throw their weight behind Syrian opposition

Updated 01 February 2016
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KSA, Turkey throw their weight behind Syrian opposition

RIYADH: The Syria policy of Turkey and Saudi Arabia is based on a shared perspective, said Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu at a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Sunday.
It followed his talks with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman during which they reviewed bilateral relations and discussed regional issues of common concern.
The king and Davutoglu also discussed a range of regional and international developments with special reference to Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen and terrorism.
After holding talks with senior Saudi officials, Davutoglu said: “Turkey and Saudi Arabia will continue to support moderate opposition groups in Syria.”
Al-Jubeir said the talks between the king and Davutoglu were positive and constructive.
Al-Jubeir said that he discussed the Syrian crisis with Turkish officials, ways and means of combating terrorism and Iran, besides exchanging notes on a range of bilateral and international issues.
He said that “the Kingdom would support the Syrian opposition whether it stays in peace talks in Geneva or not.”
Al-Jubeir said the talks should focus on a transfer of power away from Bashar Assad ... a new constitution and new elections, and a new Syria in which Assad has no role to play. “That’s what the Syrian opposition went to negotiate.” He added: “We support them if they choose not to negotiate. We support them if they choose to negotiate.”
Regarding Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian plane taking part in operations in Syria on Nov. 24, Al-Jubeir said: “We support Turkey’s right to defend its territory in the ways it sees fit.”

To this end, it is important to note that the visit of the Turkish premier will also boost joint cooperation especially after Saudi Arabia and Turkey recently agreed to form a strategic cooperation council. The aim of this council is to increase the strength of relations between the two countries, which will ensure security and stability in the region.
Referring to Davutoglu’s talks with senior Saudi officials, a diplomatic source said that the two sides discussed several regional issues, including Syria. The Geneva meetings on Syria mark the first step of the Vienna Process initiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavroav, with regional representatives from Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, among others, on board.
But Riad Hijab, the leading figure in the High Negotiations Committee, which brings together representatives of the mainstream political opposition and rebel groups, said in an online statement that without UN and international pressure on the Syrian government there would be no justification for the main Saudi-backed opposition group to remain in Geneva.
Hijab was not among the group that arrived in Geneva and his comments came after a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Riyadh, where Hijab was quoted as expressing his concern about the intensifying aerial bombing on Syrian cities and refugee camps.
He said that the delegation had traveled to Geneva only after they received written and verbal assurances from world powers that humanitarian issues would be addressed.
During his stay in Riyadh, Davutoglu also met with a number of Saudi businessmen led by Abdulrahman Al-Zamil, president of the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC). The two sides focused on ways and means to promote economic and commercial relations between the two countries, especially in the fields of investment.
During the meeting, Davutoglu called on Saudi businessmen to increase their investments in his country and establish joint ventures for the development of the existing cooperation. Trade exchange between the Kingdom and Turkey exceeded SR21 billon in 2015.
Starting his trip in Jeddah before proceeding to the Holy City of Makkah, the Turkish premier made his way to Riyadh to meet with King Salman and senior Saudi officials.
Davutoglu is accompanied by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Ministers Yalcın Akdogan and Lutfi Elvan, Economy Minister Mustafa Elitas, Interior Minister Efkan Ala, and other top officials including National Intelligence Agency chief Hakan Fidan.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.