Saudi Foreign Minister reasserts the Kingdom's eagerness to unify Arab stance, revamping Arab League

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Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit (L) speaks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir during a League meeting at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on September 11, 2018. (AFP)
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Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit looks on during the opening of Arab foreign ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt September 11, 2018. (Reuters)
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Pierre Krahenbuhl (C), Commissioner General for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), attends a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers at the League’s headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo on September 11, 2018, during a special session on the sidelines discussing the financial crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)’s caused by the US scrapping its contributions. (AFP)
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This picture taken on September 11, 2018 shows a general view of the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in the Egyptian capital Cairo. (AFP)
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This picture taken on September 11, 2018 shows a general view of a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers at its headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo, during a special session on the sidelines discussing the financial crisis of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA)’s caused by the US scrapping its contributions.(AFP)
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A special session on the crisis facing UNRWA. (SPA)
Updated 12 September 2018

Saudi Foreign Minister reasserts the Kingdom's eagerness to unify Arab stance, revamping Arab League

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir emphasized in Cairo on Tuesday, during the opening of the 150th ordinary session of the Arab League (AL) Council, that the Kingdom remains keen to unify the Arab stance, promote the performance of the AL and revamp a Pan-Arab joint action system.
The Palestinian cause is the top priority and interest for Saudi Arabia, which endeavors to secure the Palestinian people their legitimate rights based on the Arab Peace Initiative: International legitimacy resolutions calling for establishing its independent state, with East Al-Quds as its capital, he pointed out, reiterating absolute rejection of anything that may compromise the historical or legal status of Al-Quds.
On Yemen, Al-Jubeir said the Kingdom is keeping to its commitment toward Yemeni unity, sovereignty, stability, security and territorial integrity, through backing the legitimate government and reiterating readiness to cooperate with the UN envoy to Yemen.
Iran-affiliated Houthis militias have never and will never positively respond to the international community’s calls to engage in the political process, he said, pointing out their absence at the latest meeting, held in Geneva.
He stressed that coalition countries will continue to cooperate with the UN and other relief agencies, to ensure humanitarian access to the civilians in Yemen and alleviate their suffering.
Al-Jubeir added that the total humanitarian support provided by the Kingdom to Yemen during the past four years amounted to more than $13 billion.
On the Syrian crisis, the foreign minister said that the Kingdom seeks to stabilize Syrian unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and has united the position of the Syrian opposition so it may sit at the negotiating table to reach a political solution that guarantees security and unity, through the prevention of foreign intervention or any attempts to partition the country.
Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom supports the unity and independence of Libya and the efforts of the UN envoy to reach a political solution that will guarantee the country’s security and stability and eliminate terrorism in the country.
He pointed to the suffering caused in the world by terrorism, which the Kingdom has exerted all efforts to combat, and did not hesitate to provide all kinds of support, in cooperation with the international community, to eliminate it.
He stressed that the conduct of Iran, through its blatant interference in our affairs and its support for terrorist militias, is among the ugliest manifestations of terrorism, which requires us to unite and cooperate to confront and deter.
At the end of his speech, the foreign minister called on his counterpart, the Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr. Dirdiri Mohammed Ahmed, to take over the chairmanship of the current session.
Earlier, under the chairmanship of Al-Jubeir, Arab foreign ministers held, at the request of Jordan, a special session on the crisis facing UNRWA.
The extraordinary session included discussion of the systematic campaign against the UNRWA to reduce or cancel its role, as well as ways to support it, financially, in the light of the recent decision by the US to stop making financial contributions to the organization’s annual budget.
Arab foreign ministers stressed the need for UNRWA to continue to play its role in meeting the humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees, warning against compromising the agency’s mandate or reducing its services, which would contribute to aggravation of the situation in the Middle East.
The ministers emphasized that the agency’s continued commitment to more than 5 million Palestinian refugees in the areas of operations, as mandated by the UN, is an international political, legal and moral responsibility.
The ministers agreed to continue discussing the issue in the light of the outcome of the international meeting called for by Jordan, in coordination with Egypt and Palestine, and in cooperation with Sweden, Germany, Japan and the EU to take the necessary steps to build on the outcome of the Extraordinary Ministerial Conference on the Support of UNRWA, held in Rome on March 15, 2018, and political moves to ensure the financial support for the agency to perform its tasks.
Ministers expressed thanks to countries that have provided financial support to the agency, which so far this year has raised about $200 million.


Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

Updated 40 min 45 sec ago

Libyan navy says more than 300 migrants rescued

  • 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea
  • It came days after Libyan navy patrols “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats

TRIPOLI: The Libyan navy said Sunday 335 migrants had been rescued and one body recovered in separate operations off the coast, as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.
Nine children were among 57 migrants in a wooden boat rescued Saturday about 40 nautical miles from the town of Zuwara, west of Tripoli, navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem told AFP.
He said they were from Ethiopia and Egypt.
It came days after Libyan navy patrols on Tuesday “rescued 278 migrants on board four inflatable boats northwest and northeast of Tripoli,” Kacem added.
The operations took place off the coasts of the cities of Khoms, 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Tripoli, and Sabratha, located 70 kilometers west of the capital.
According to the statement, 128 Sudanese were in the boats, in addition to migrants from Chad, Egypt, Niger, Benin and Eritrea, including 35 women and 11 children.
One body was also recovered by the coast guard.
Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed dictator Muammar Qaddafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
In general, migrants rescued at sea are first met by humanitarian agencies that provide medical care and food.
They are then taken into the charge of the body working to combat immigration at the interior ministry of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.
On August 9, the Libyan navy accused the authorities of failing to manage migrants rescued at sea, claiming that it could be forced to let people go free once brought back to land.
Despite the risks, migrants continue to attempt to reach Europe by sea, preferring to take their chances than stay in Libya, where they are subject to abuse, extortion and torture, according to humanitarian organizations.