Saudi FM: We will consider Qatar’s response carefully before taking stances

German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, L, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. (Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Updated 04 July 2017
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Saudi FM: We will consider Qatar’s response carefully before taking stances

JEDDAH: The standoff between Qatar and its Arab neighbors would best be solved by an agreement across the region to prevent the financing of “terrorism,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Monday.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said he told Gabriel that the measures taken by the four countries were aimed at pressuring Qatar to change policies that have harmed its neighbors and the world.
“We look forward to receiving Qatar’s response to the demands in order to study it thoroughly before taking stances,” Al-Jubeir said.
“The aim of the measures taken against Qatar is to change its policies that harm it, the countries of the region and other nations of the world,” Al-Jubeir told a press conference alongside Gabriel in Jeddah.
Gabriel said he did not have the impression the four countries were questioning Qatar’s sovereignty.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have agreed to grant Qatar an additional 48 hours to comply with a list of demands they submitted last month.
The extension by the four countries, which have severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and imposed economic sanctions over its regional policies, came at the request of Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
As the original deadline of July 3 loomed, Kuwait, the US and Russia appeared to intensify efforts to resolve the crisis.
The Saudi, Emirati, Egyptian and Bahraini foreign ministers have agreed to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani has reportedly delivered his country’s official response to Sheikh Sabah during a short visit to Kuwait.
The White House on Sunday said US President Donald Trump spoke with Saudi King Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.
Trump “reiterated the importance of stopping terrorist financing and discrediting extremist ideology,” the White House said in a statement.
He “also underscored that unity in the region is critical to accomplishing the Riyadh Summit’s goals of defeating terrorism and promoting regional stability.”
Trump and King Salman exchanged views on US-Saudi efforts against terrorism, its sources of financing and countries that support terrorist groups, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
Trump later tweeted: “Spoke yesterday with the King of Saudi Arabia about peace in the Middle-East. Interesting things are happening!”


Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

Updated 17 min 32 sec ago
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Saudi customs thwart smuggling attempts on buses transporting Umrah worshippers

RIYADH: The Halat Ammar Customs on the Kingdom’s northwestern border prevented two attempts to smuggle a quantity of 184,737 Fenethylline tablets, also known by the brand name of Captagon.
The pills were discovered hidden on two buses that were transporting passengers to the Kingdom’s holy sites.
Mohammed Qaisi, the customs general manager, said the first bus was carrying 47 passengers and after the customs procedures were finalized and the passengers were processed, a bag containing 100,000 tablets was found.
“The narcotics were hidden in an artistic way and were placed inside the bag’s lining,” he said.
Qaisi also said the second attempt was thwarted in a similar way. The other bus was transporting 31 passengers, on which a total of 84,737 Captagon pills were seized.
Saudi Arabia usually witnesses a rise of smuggling attempts during the Umrah and Hajj seasons, as they are exploited by smugglers trying to transport narcotics and other contraband. 
Saudi Customs said it is exerting great efforts and working with all its human and technical capabilities to prevent the entry of illegal substances.