France salutes Saudi anti-terror efforts

Saudi FM Adel Al-Jubeir with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Jeddah. (AN photo by Essam Al-Ghalib)
Updated 16 July 2017

France salutes Saudi anti-terror efforts

JEDDAH: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Saudi Arabia Saturday and met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his Saudi counterpart Adel Al-Jubeir.
On the Qatar crisis, the visiting minister reiterated France’s support for Kuwaiti mediation. “We wish to play a supporting role,” he said.
Addressing the same press conference, Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would present Le Drian with “comprehensive dossiers of the negative acts committed by Qatar over years,” adding that a similar file was given to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Al-Jubeir said, however, that Riyadh hopes the crisis could still be solved “within the Gulf house.”
Le Drian agreed that “solving this crisis should be done by the Gulf countries themselves,” reiterating Paris support for Kuwaiti mediation.
“France does not want to substitute the mediator... It wants to be a facilitator by joining efforts of other countries,” he stressed, adding that Tillerson’s initiative is “suitable.”
On bilateral relations, Le Drian said he agreed with the crown prince to activate a joint French-Saudi commission that has been idle for years.
Le Drian also said Saudi Arabia had demonstrated its leadership in the fight against terrorism.
He saluted Saudi Arabia’s role in halting terrorism and extremist thoughts.
“We hope to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in implementing Vision 2030,” he added.
After Saudi Arabia, Le Drian travels to Kuwait and the UAE.
“France should be a facilitator in the mediation” led by Kuwait, Le Drian told reporters earlier in Doha after talks with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.
“France is very concerned by the sudden deterioration in relations between Qatar and many of its neighbors,” he said.
— With input from AFP

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.