Envoys highlight Saudi Arabia’s support for joint Arab action

Arab foreign ministers pose for a group picture during the preparatory meeting in Riyadh on Thursday ahead of Sunday’s Arab League Summit. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2018
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Envoys highlight Saudi Arabia’s support for joint Arab action

  • Saudi Arabia is exerting all efforts to enable the Arab world to face challenges, envoy says
  • Algerian ambassador highlighted Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the fight against terrorism regionally and internationally

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has provided all the required human and material resources to secure the success of Sunday’s Arab League Summit, said a top envoy.

Saudi Arabia is exerting all efforts to enable the Arab world to face various political, economic and cultural challenges, said the Kingdom’s ambassador to Algeria, Dr. Sami bin Abdullah Al-Saleh. 

The summit will “constitute a qualitative leap and a new stage in the course of joint Arab action,” which will “positively influence the course of events in the Arab world,” he said.

“The Kingdom has underscored in many instances the importance and necessity of adopting an Arab strategy to counter the challenges that threaten the security of Arab countries, especially terrorism.”

Al-Saleh highlighted Saudi Arabia’s leading role in the fight against terrorism regionally and internationally. 

He expressed optimism that the summit will adopt resolutions that will boost Arab solidarity and provide more mechanisms to eradicate terrorism and strengthen economies.

“The Kingdom will put all its potential at the disposal of Arab countries… so as to reach an effective Arab position on the international scene,” Al-Saleh said.

The Saudi ambassador to Morocco, Dr. Abdulaziz Muhieddin Khoja, highlighted the security challenges facing the region, and said the summit’s resolutions will hinder attempts by hostile forces to thwart Arab unity.

“The summit is taking place at a time when the Arab region is facing many challenges by Iran and its relentless attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of countries, spreading terrorism and sedition, and undermining security and stability, in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq,” he added.

The Saudi ambassador to Jordan, Prince Khalid bin Faisal bin Turki, said the Kingdom “relentlessly endeavors to promote collaboration and synergy between Arab countries to address the challenges affecting the lives of Arab citizens on the political, security and social levels.”

He added: “It also strives to fortify relationships between Arab nations against intrusions of foreign countries that aim to split Arab ranks.”

Bin Turki stressed the importance of the issues on the summit‘s agenda, namely the fight against terrorism, the conflict in Syria, political and security challenges in Iraq, and Iran’s interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries. 

He praised the Arab League’s backing for the Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s internationally recognized government.


Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

Updated 34 min 57 sec ago
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Erdogan’s ‘vile’ comments on Christchurch mosques shootings dismissed as not representative of Muslims

  • Turkish president has threatened to ‘send home in coffins’ visitors from Australia, New Zealand
  • Aussie and NZ leaders want Turkey to explain the ‘vile’ and ‘offensive’ remarks

JEDDAH: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was condemned on Wednesday for “vile, offensive and reckless” comments after last week’s Christchurch mosque terrorist attacks.

Australia summoned the Turkish ambassador in Canberra to explain the remarks, and New Zealand dispatched its foreign minister to Ankara to “set the record straight, face to face.”

Brenton Tarrant, 28, an Australian white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after he shot dead 50 people during Friday prayers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Erdogan, in election campaign rallies for his AK Party, urged New Zealand to restore the death penalty and said Turkey would make the killer pay if New Zealand did not.

He said anti-Muslim Australians who came to Turkey would be “sent back in coffins, like their grandfathers at Gallipoli,” and he accused Australian and New Zealand forces of invading Turkey during the First World War “because it is Muslim land.”

But an international affairs scholar in Riyadh said Erdogan’s comments should not be taken as representative of Muslims. 

"He is a propagandist and an unpredictable politician,” Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News. “He keeps saying these things and then he issues an apology. Right now, he is making these incendiary comments to win elections.”

It was inappropriate behavior for a head of state, Al-Shehri said. “Which president would use such language and issue these kind of comments?”

In his speech, Erdogan said that the Gallipoli peninsula campaign in 1915 was in fact an attempt by British colonial forces to relieve their Russian allies. The attack was a military disaster, and more than 11,000 Australian and New Zealand forces were killed. Thousands of people from both countries travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services, and the anniversary is marked on Anzac Day every April 25.

“Remarks have been made by the Turkish President Erdogan that I consider highly offensive to Australians and highly reckless in this very sensitive environment,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after summoning the Turkish ambassador and dismissing the “excuses” offered.

“I am expecting, and I have asked, for these comments to be clarified, to be withdrawn.” Morrison described claims about Australia and New Zealand’s response to the white supremacist attack as “vile.” He accused Erdogan of betraying the promise of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to forge peace between the two countries.

A memorial at Gallipoli carries Ataturk’s words: “There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets ... after having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

“Ataturk sought to transform his country into a modern nation and an embracing nation, and I think these comments are at odds with that spirit,” Morrison said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her deputy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters, would travel to Turkey to seek clarification of Erdogan’s comments. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face,” she said.