Saudi FM: Palestine will top discussions at the 29th Arab League summit

Updated 14 April 2018
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Saudi FM: Palestine will top discussions at the 29th Arab League summit

  • The 29th Arab League summit will be held in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.
  • The preparatory and ministerial meetings of the 29th Arab League summit began on Thursday in Riyadh.

JEDDAH: The preparatory and ministerial meetings of the 29th Arab League summit began on Thursday in Riyadh where senior Arab officials are discussing various political, security, and military developments facing the region.

The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said in his opening remarks at the ministerial meeting on Thursday that Palestine and the situation there will top discussions at the Arab summit.

He also said that Iran and terrorism are two sides of the same coin, and called on Arab ministers to work together to stop Iran meddling in Arab affairs. 

The Saudi foreign minister praised Saudi - Iraqi rapprochement and said that Riyadh has allocated $1.5 billion for the reconstruction of Iraq.

As part of his speech on the most important challenges facing the Arab world, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said that 117 Houthi ballistic missiles had been fired at Saudi cities. He added that Houthi terrorist acts are destabilizing security and stability in Yemen.

With regards to aid in Yemen, the foreign minister said that Saudi Arabia has funded humanitarian and development programs, in addition to Yemen's central bank with over $10 billion over the past three years.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Arab League Aboul Gheit said that the League condemns Iran's interference in Bahrain and other countries in the region.

The Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit and the Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met on the sidelines of the Arab foreign minister’s meeting. 

The spokesman for the Arab League’s Secretary-General Mahmoud Afifi said that Aboul Gheit was given a presentation by de Mistura about the latest results of his communications with international and regional parties that aim to allow political negotiations between Syrian parties to recommence in Geneva under the auspices of the United Nations. They also discussed his political and military assessment of the recent escalation of the crisis in Syria. 

Jordan and Egypt signed the agreement on the liberalization of trade in services among Arab states at the inaugural ministerial meeting of the economic and social council of the 29th Arab summit.

The agenda of the summit will be set out during the preparatory meeting where the foreign ministers of the 22 countries are meeting.

The Arab League summit will be hosted in Dammam, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

 


Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

The Arab coalition is striving to rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, says Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani. File/Getty Images
Updated 26 May 2018
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Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

  • Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis
  • The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them

LONDON: There cannot be peace in Yemen unless Houthi militias abandon their arms, said the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani.

The internationally recognized government will not allow Iran, which backs the Houthis, to maintain a foothold in Yemen or interfere in its internal affairs, he added.
“This terrorist regime” in Tehran, “which supplies terrorist militias all over the world, is close to collapse as a result of international and popular pressure by the Iranian people, who are suffering as their terrorist state spends billions here and there for a foolish expansionist idea,” Al-Yamani said.
“The modern and civilized world that respects international law cannot accept the existence of a state sponsor of terrorism and all subversive and terrorist militias in the region,” he added.
“If Iran wants to be part of the social, cultural and political fabric of our region, it must rationalize its behavior.” Its “terrorist behavior… encourages the spread of violence in the region,” he said.
Al-Yamani added that he will start his tenure as foreign minister by focusing on negotiations and the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The government is working round the clock with the envoy’s office so he can present his ideas on June 7 after consultations with the government, Al-Yamani said.
There will be meetings in the next few days with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a special meeting with the negotiating team, all within the framework of the envoy’s efforts in the region, Al-Yamani added.
Griffiths has visited several countries in the region, and has met with Yemen’s government and the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The Houthis “suggest that political arrangements should come before security and military arrangements,” said Al-Yamani.
But “the coup against the state in January 2015 came as a result of the preference of political over security arrangements,” he added.
“And after the Houthis achieved their goals, they turned against the national consensus reflected in the peace and partnership agreement, under which the president provided facilities to save the homeland from the fate we have reached today,” Al-Yamani said.
“We cannot talk about any political arrangements because we consider them to be a foregone conclusion if we achieve the withdrawal and delivery of heavy and medium weapons and missiles,” he added. “We cannot retry something we tried before... The coup must end.”
The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them,” he said. “Heavy and medium weapons should be handed over, and those militias must be withdrawn.”
Al-Yamani criticized Iran’s ambassador to the UN for speaking in dovish language while his country causes destruction in Yemen.
“Most of what we have been able to remove of the mines planted by the Houthis had the trademark of Iranian industry,” Al-Yamani said.
“Even if we achieve peace today, we will need decades to demine... There will be no possibility of safe living in the areas where mines were planted.”
Al-Yamani expressed the gratitude of his government and people for the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the government to achieve security and peace in Yemen and the whole region.
Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, rebuild the Yemeni psyche destroyed by the war, distribute goods throughout Yemen, and reconstruct what was destroyed by the Houthi war machine,” he said.
“All this confirms that the project of restoring the state… is the project of life,” which is “opposed to the project of death brought by Iran and its Houthi militias to Yemen,” he added.
This interview is simultaneously published in Asharq Al-Awsat.