Iran has to change its policies for any rapprochement, says Saudi FM

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at a briefing with reporters at the Saudi Embassy in London on Tuesday, September 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)
Updated 06 September 2017
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Iran has to change its policies for any rapprochement, says Saudi FM

LONDON: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday that Iran’s talk of a rapprochement with the Kingdom was laughable.
Al-Jubeir told reporters in London that Tehran would first have to change its policies before any diplomatic thaw could happen.
He was responding to earlier remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, carried by the Iranian Students’ News Agency, which suggested that diplomatic visits could take place after Hajj.
“The comments of the foreign minister are laughable,” Al-Jubeir said, according to Reuters. “If Iran wants to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, it has to change its policies. It has to respect international law.”
“At this time, we do not see... that they’re serious about wanting to be a good neighbor,” Al-Jubeir said.
He said that diplomatic exchanges with Iran over arrangements for the Hajj did not represent a normalization of relations and that such contacts had nothing to do with politics.
“We had the Hajj season, and when we have the Hajj, we try not to politicize it... But this is not normalization,” he said. “The meetings around the Hajj, have nothing to do with the politics. It’s a religious issue.”
Sara Bazoobandi, a senior lecturer on international political economy at Regent’s University London, said she did not expect any immediate thaw in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran unless circumstances bring an immediate need for dialogue.
“I am quite pessimistic. I don’t think there is going to be a change unless there is an immediate interest involved,” she told Arab News.
Al-Jubeir also said that should the rift between Qatar and the Anti-Terror Quartet — Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — continue for two years, then “so be it.”
Others agreed that the diplomatic rift over Doha's alleged support of terror groups could be a protracted dispute.
A research paper released on Tuesday by a Qatari opposition group in London said that the rift was likely to stretch into 2018, bringing Doha closer to Tehran.
Khalid Al-Hail, spokesman of the Qatari opposition, said the situation is likely to lead to regime change within the Gulf state. “The continued standoff is causing hardship within Qatar, provoking civil unrest and increasingly the likelihood that the emir will be replaced in the near future (through) a coup by members of the ruling Al-Thani family,” he told Arab News.
The Saudi foreign minister visit to London came as fresh concerns about Iran’s controversial nuclear program were raised by President Donald Trump’s envoy to the UN.
Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a speech to a conservative think tank that there was an argument for the US to potentially declare Iran in violation of the nuclear deal. She said that while she did not know what decision the Trump administration would make if the US president did decide against certifying Iranian compliance he would be on solid ground.


KSA's King Salman Center for Disability Research holds its 9th general assembly meeting

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman attend the 12th meeting of the KACDR in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 41 min 1 sec ago
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KSA's King Salman Center for Disability Research holds its 9th general assembly meeting

  • Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees, expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his support of the disability issue

On behalf of Prince Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, founder of the King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR), Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar attended the General Assembly’s 9th meeting and the 12th meeting of the center’s founders.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees, expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his support of the disability issue.

He said that King Salman’s support boosted the state strategy of empowerment and integration of people with disabilities. The Kingdom’s efforts on the issue of disability made it an international pioneer, he said.

“The center is aware of the importance of the advanced scientific research as a parallel activity of the educational and rehabilitation services it provides,” he said. 

Prince Sultan praised the adoption of the national program for learning disabilities by the center in cooperation with the Education Ministry, noting that the program has helped qualify 20,000 teachers and benefit more than 500,000 male and female students, along with the hundreds of sessions the center has organized to help tens of thousands of citizens and residents.

Prince Sultan stressed the center’s effective partnerships with information, scientific, educational and medical institutions in Saudi Arabia, including the ministries of health, education, defense, interior, labor and social development, national guard, the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology and universities.

“We have intensified our efforts to conduct scientific research, along with the center’s practical work and pioneering future researches with the world’s best partners, to serve people with disabilities.”