NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia on Saturday condemned the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, where hundreds of thousands have fled persecution by the Myanmar Army and Buddhist nationalists.
“My country is gravely concerned and condemns the policy of repression and forced displacement carried out by the government of Myanmar against the Rohingya minority,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told the UN General Assembly in New York.
Bangladesh and aid organizations are struggling to help 422,000 Rohingya who have crossed the border since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants triggered a crackdown that the UN has described as ethnic cleansing.
Al-Jubeir restated demands by the Anti-Terror Quartet (ATQ) — comprising Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain — that Qatar abide by the agreements it signed in Riyadh in 2013 and 2014, to stop financing terrorism in the region and meddling in the internal affairs of other countries.
Al-Jubeir also spoke on the crisis in Yemen, where he said the Houthi militia’s takeover with support from Iran was a threat to the region.
“Military action was not an option in Yemen, neither was it an instant decision. Rather, it came after intense political efforts aiming to preserve the stability, security, unity and territorial integrity of Yemen. Thus, we reiterate our full support of the political process in Yemen, and our backing of the UN efforts through its representative, aiming to achieve a political solution based on UN resolution 2216, the Gulf initiative, and the outputs of the Yemeni national dialogue,” he said.
Al-Jubeir said Saudi aid to Yemen in recent years exceeded $8 billion, including $67 million to deal with cholera, along with further humanitarian, medical and developmental assistance delivered by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center and UN agencies.
On the Palestinian cause, Al-Jubeir said the Arab-Israeli conflict remained the longest-running conflict in the region in contemporary history, with all the tragedies, pains and humanitarian sufferings that entailed.
“We see no justification for the continuation of this conflict,” he said, “especially in light of international consensus on a two-state solution, based on UN resolutions and the Arab Initiative, which call for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within the boundaries of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”