Saudi Arabia, US in search of ‘real’ Mideast peace

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Salman and US presidential adviser Jared Kushner met on Tuesday.
Updated 23 August 2017
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Saudi Arabia, US in search of ‘real’ Mideast peace

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received senior US officials including presidential adviser Jared Kushner in Jeddah on Tuesday and discussed efforts to bring about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
The crown prince also discussed ways to combat terrorist financing with Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, as well as US negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell, the SPA said.
The two sides talked about seeking ways to reach “a real and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians” and ensuring stability in the wider Middle East and beyond, the SPA added.
Both sides also stressed their commitment to bolstering bilateral relations.
They affirmed their joint priorities in cutting off all forms of support to terrorists and extremists, and to coordinate efforts for the development of a global center for combating deviant thought.
The meeting was attended by the Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Khalid bin Salman, State Minister Musaid Al-Aiban and Yasir Al-Rimyan, an adviser at the Cabinet secretariat.
The White House announced the trip earlier this month, saying it was part of a regional tour including meetings with leaders from the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The US officials are expected to be in Israel on Wednesday, a White House official said. They are planning to meet separately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, according to AP.
Kushner, Greenblatt and Powell have been heavily involved in a behind-the-scenes process to help Trump broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, which the first-year president has called the “ultimate deal.”
The talks this week are aimed at helping forge a path to substantive peace negotiations, but no major breakthroughs are expected.
Trump has not outright endorsed the two-state solution, which has been at the heart of US policy for nearly two decades.
The president has urged Israel to show restraint in settlement construction but not demanded a freeze, disappointing the Palestinians. Trump also pushed back a decision on his campaign pledge to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Israel has welcomed the promise, while the Palestinians have strongly opposed it.
Kushner was charged with helping to broker a deal between Israelis and Palestinians after Trump took office.
The president visited Saudi Arabia and Israel during his first post-inauguration trip abroad and expressed a personal commitment to reaching a deal that has eluded his Republican and Democratic predecessors, according to Reuters.
On August 22, 2017, Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arabian Gulf Affairs Tim Lenderking met with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia and his senior advisors.  The two sides affirmed the close relationship between the two countries and committed to strengthen the relationship and close cooperation. Both sides also agreed to advance their shared goal of working toward a genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and ensuring security, stability, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond. Both sides stressed their shared priority of cutting off all support for terrorists and extremists. They also discussed the continued development of the Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology.
Meanwhile, the US delegation also met with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates and his senior advisors. The two sides affirmed their close relationship and committed to strengthen their close cooperation. Both sides also agreed to advance their shared goal of achieving genuine and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and ensuring security, stability, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond. Both sides stressed their shared priority of cutting off all support for terrorists and extremists.


FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

Updated 23 October 2018
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FII delegates pay tribute to Khashoggi, say ‘terrible act not part of our DNA’

RIYADH: Speakers at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh did not shy away from addressing what could otherwise have been the elephant in the room: The death of Jamal Khashoggi.
Numerous speakers had pulled out of the event over the death of the Saudi journalist in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Khashoggi’s death was the result of a “rogue operation” by people acting beyond the scope of Saudi authorities, Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Sunday.
Many speakers due to attend the FII — mostly those from Western organizations — had pulled out due to allegations the Saudi government was complicit in Khashoggi’s death.
But speakers at the FII on Tuesday tackled the issue head-on, calling the death “abhorrent” and promising justice. 
“These are difficult days for us in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We are going through a crisis, of sorts, resulting from the very regrettable and abhorrent incident that took place in Turkey,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the audience.
“Nobody in the Kingdom can justify it or explain it. From the leadership on down, we are very upset about what has happened,” he added. 
“The king has made it clear that there will be an investigation, justice and retribution to those responsible.”
The prominent Saudi business executive Lubna Olayan also remarked on the case, saying that the “terrible acts reported in recent weeks are alien to our culture and DNA.” 
Al-Falih said that, despite the ongoing “crisis” due to the case, the ambitious reforms that Saudi Arabia is undertaking would continue. 
“The Kingdom is in the midst of a historic transformation of unprecedented proportions, and the train has moved, and it has moved deliberately toward a transformation journey that will not be stopped,” he said. 
“Those partners who are here with us today, to continue their journey with us are certainly going to look back and find out how the lessons have been learned from the incident, but at the same time how committed the Kingdom is to its partners who stay the course.”