Global outrage over Houthi missile attack near Makkah

Updated 30 October 2016
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Global outrage over Houthi missile attack near Makkah

RIYADH: The ballistic missile launched by the Houthi militias targeting the holy city of Makkah late on Thursday evoked worldwide condemnation on Friday with foreign ambassadors in Riyadh, key world leaders and prominent organizations joining Saudi society in unequivocally denouncing the “heinous act.”

In a uniform voice, ambassadors in the capital slammed the attack. The missile was intercepted by Saudi ground forces and downed 65 km from the holy city of Makkah.
German Ambassador Dieter W. Haller said: “We condemn this kind of attacks in strongest possible terms.” He said it is important for all stakeholders on Yemen to resume peace talks to find a solution according to the UN resolutions as proposed by its envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed.
Speaking to Arab News on telephone from the US, Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen said the attack would be condemned by all peace-loving people. “I sincerely feel that these matters could be settled at a negotiating table peacefully.”
Finland’s Ambassador Pekka Voutilainen said: “That kind of missile attack on Saudi soil has to be condemned in the strongest possible words. It is not acceptable.” He said the UN has come with a road map to restore peace in Yemen. Houthi militias doing this will disturb the peace process, which is important to restore the political stability.
Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed said: “Targeting a holy place must be strongly denounced.”
Belgian Ambassador Geert Criel said: “We are shocked by the attack on Saudi territory by the Houthi militias. This is absolutely unacceptable.” He said he hoped the cease-fire would continue in order to achieve the goal of the UN peace talks to restore political stability in Yemen.
Pakistan Ambassador Manzoor Ul Haq said: “The news of a missile attack targeting the holy city is shocking for every Muslim. We strongly condemn any attack against Makkah or any other part of the Kingdom.”
Turkish Ambassador Yunis Demirer said: “We strongly condemn the missile launch by Houthi militias toward Makkah, the most sacred place for Muslims ... We are relieved by the fact that the Saudi defense forces were able to intercept and destroy the missile.” He added: “Our Foreign Ministry also issued a separate statement condemning this attack.”
Bangladesh Ambassador Golam Moshi told Arab News that his country strongly condemns the heinous act of the Houthis. “This is not an attack on Saudi Arabia, it is willful aggression on Islam,” he said.
“Under the able leadership of Premier Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is prepared to send its troops to protect the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah,” the envoy said.
Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said the attack has not only violated the peace agreement but also targeted Makkah, where Muslims from all parts of the world come for pilgrimage.
Arab coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri said: “Targeting the holiest place on the earth with a ballistic missile last night reveals the fake slogans of Houthi militias.”
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani expressed the bloc’s strong condemnation of the attack.
“The GCC considers the brutal assault, which violates the sanctity of this country, a provocation for Muslims. It shows the Houthi disregard for Islamic holy sites. It is evident of the Houthi refusal to follow the will of the international community and their decisions to reach a political solution to the crisis,” Al-Zayani said in a statement.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the Arab League, pointed out that the attack was an unacceptable violation of the sanctity of the holy land. In a statement, Aboul Gheit said this is a serious escalation by the Houthi militias.
Describing the attack as a gross violation of the sanctity of the House of Allah, Shoura Council Speaker Abdullah Al-Asheikh said it is a blatant attack supported by the Iranian regime’s agents in Yemen. Al-Asheikh pledged the council’s support to all measures taken by the Saudi government to protect the sovereignty, security and stability of the country.
The Muslim World League said the attack has violated the sanctity of the holy place and also hurt the sentiments of the world Muslims.
UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed tweeted: “The Iranian regime supports a terrorist group which targets the holy city of Makkah. Is this an Islamic regime as it claims?”
Jordanian government spokesman Mohammed Al-Momani said that “such heinous acts serve neither the Yemeni cause, nor the Arab and Muslim causes.”
“Any attack against holy places would expand the cycle of violence,” Al-Momani said, while reiterating calls to adhere to legitimacy and restore security of Yemen.
Bahrain Foreign Minister Khaled bin Ahmad Al-Khalifah said: “Targeting Makkah is not only a violation of all international covenants, but it’s the biggest crime ever.”
Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said: “This is an outrageous aggression against the sanctity of the holiest Islamic shrine and a provocation for the religious sentiments of millions of Muslims around the world.”
Doha reiterated support to relentless Saudi efforts to ensure regional security and stability and its efforts to achieve peace in Yemen.
Egypt described the attack as “a dangerous development which targeted the innocent people who came for the pilgrimage.”


GCC, global parliamentary groups warn Iran of consequences

GCC Secretary-General Abdullateef Al-Zayani
Updated 53 min 26 sec ago
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GCC, global parliamentary groups warn Iran of consequences

  • Maintaining security and stability in the region is the first priority of the Gulf states
  • Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of UNSC resolution 2216, as a UN panel has already identified missile remnants

RIYADH: A number of parliamentarians from different countries including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have warned Iran of grave consequences if it continues to indulge in proxy wars with neighboring Arab countries that threaten the peace and stability in the Middle East.

In statements issued on the 37th anniversary of the GCC’s establishment, parliamentarian criticized Iranian role in the Yemen conflict and Tehran’s continued support to the Houthi militias that have so far fired more than 100 ballistic missiles on Saudi Arabia.
“Maintaining security and stability in the region is the first priority of the Gulf states,” said GCC Secretary-General Abdullateef Al-Zayani.
Al-Zayani appreciated “the pivotal role of the Saudi leadership in backing the GCC General Secretariat to achieve the collective goals and implement the resolutions of the Supreme Council.”
He called on Iran “to refrain from meddling in the affairs of Arab nations, and stop supplying arms and ammunition to its Houthi militants to save Yemen from the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The “All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Yemen” in the British Parliament last Wednesday released its annual report on the situation in the war-stricken country, warning, for the first time, of “Iran’s hand in the civil war and its attempt to project power on the Arabian peninsula.”
The APPG observed that “cooperation with non-state actors is an integral part of Iran’s foreign policy through which it seeks to consolidate power across the region.” As examples of this strategy, the group named Iran’s support for the Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah, as well as Iranian militias in Syria and Iraq.
It further noted that “Iran’s stance against the war must be judged in the context of its desire to undermine the Western and Saudi influence in Yemen.”
The British group has warned that Tehran’s arming of the Houthi rebels has led to a “major escalation” in the conflict.
Commenting on these reports, Mohammed Al-Khunaizi, a Saudi Shoura Council member, said that “Iran has had complicity in most of the regional conflicts, and the involvement of Tehran has been hampering all efforts to restore peace and security in the Middle East.”
He said: “Iran is in non-compliance with paragraph 14 of UNSC resolution 2216, as a UN panel has already identified missile remnants, related military equipment that are of Iranian origin and were/are being used in Yemen.”
“The growing involvement of Iran in the affairs of the Arab nations has led many of its Arab neighbors to distance itself from Tehran,” said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Qayid, the founding member of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR).
In fact, the Arab League has recently supported Morocco’s decision to sever ties with Iran over its support for the Polisario Front, he said.