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

Updated 14 April 2018

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.


KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

Updated 25 April 2019

KSRelief signs agreements for relief to Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians

  • Al-Rabeeah: We have no hidden agenda in Syria and we work through international organizations

BEIRUT: The general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, signed on Wednesday seven agreements with Beirut and international and civil organizations operating in Lebanon to implement relief projects targeting Syrian and Palestinian refugees as well as the most affected host communities in Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who participated in the symposium at the Four Seasons Hotel Beirut to sign the agreements, praised the strong Saudi-Lebanese relations, which have existed for decades, and stressed Lebanon’s keenness to ensure their permanence and development.

He said: “The meetings Al-Rabeeah has held with different Lebanese political and religious authorities over the past two days during his visit to Lebanon, under the guidance of King Salman, indicate the Saudi leadership’s true desire to deepen the fraternal ties with the Lebanese, support Lebanon’s unity, independence, sovereignty and coexistence formula, and protect its existence from the repercussions of all the fires, crises and interventions that plague many countries.”

During the symposium, which was attended by a large group of political, religious and social figures, Al-Rabeeah called on the international donor community to shoulder more responsibility.

Addressing the implementing bodies, he said: “It is time to reconsider your working mechanisms in order to develop them and improve procedures to avoid negative impacts.”

“What I mean by reconsidering working processes is that there is a need to work professionally and skillfully because there are not many resources, and we must eliminate bureaucracy and speedily make the most of resources,” Al-Rabeeah told Arab News.

He stressed the importance of developing a close partnership between the donor and the implementer of projects, highlighting that KSRelief’s work is subject to international and regional oversight mechanisms as well as its own internal control mechanisms.

“We have two strategic partners, and when agreements are signed with the recipients of assistance, this means accepting oversight terms,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah said: “Saudi Arabia supports the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country, and so is the case for Yemen.”

“Saudi Arabia has supported peaceful dialogues, which restore security and stability,” he said. “In order for this to happen in Syria, we support the efforts of the United Nations and implement (as KSRelief) relief programs inside Syria. We also have major programs and we count on the UN to ensure a safe return for Syrian refugees.”

On the Syrian regions in which KSRelief is implementing its programs and the difficulties faced, Al-Rabeeah told Arab News: “We have nothing to do with military or religious matters, and wherever there is security, we work. We also work through the UN and the international organizations inside Syria, and we do not have any hidden agenda in this field.”

He stressed that “participating in rebuilding Syria requires security and stability, and the Saudi leadership hopes for a peaceful solution as soon as possible. Until this is achieved, the relief work will continue and won’t cease.”

Al-Rabeeah announced that KSRelief is implementing a quality program to rehabilitate recruited children in Yemen alongside its education, protection, health and environment projects.

“There are those who recruit children to fight in Yemen, violating all humanitarian laws. Our center rehabilitates them so that they are not used as terrorist tools in the future,” he said.

Al-Rabeeah emphasized that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 has given relief work its share, especially in terms of volunteering programs. “We have great examples involved in the field,” he said.

Among the signed agreements was one with the Lebanese High Relief Commission (HRC) to carry out a project to cover the food needs of Lebanese families.

Chairman of Lebanon’s High Relief Commission Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair told Arab News that the agreement targets distributing 10,000 food rations to orphans, widows and destitute families in the poorest and most disadvantaged areas in Lebanon. “This project is encouraging and gives hope to people,” he said.

Khair said that there are 100,000 people in need in Bab Al-Tabbaneh district alone, pledging to commit to transparency during the implementation of the project. “It is not a question of sectarian balance; we are focused on those who are most in need,” he said.

The signed agreements include one for repairing, equipping, and operating the Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Center for Dialysis at the Makassed General Hospital, an agreement with the UNHCR worth $5 million to implement a project for assisting the most affected Syrian families for six months, an agreement to support Souboul Assalam Association in Akkar (northern Lebanon), an agreement with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to implement a project worth $3.8 million to cover the needs of Syrian families that are below the poverty line for a year, and an agreement with UNRWA to cover the medical needs and treatment of cancer and multiple sclerosis in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl said: “The challenge facing UNRWA after the reduction of its budget is maintaining the operation of its 715 schools in the Middle East.”

“Saudi Arabia is a key partner for us, and owing to its help, we will be able to help cancer and multiple sclerosis patients,” he said.