Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi, said the US president. (Jim Watson/AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Trump vows to remain steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia

  • The Kingdom is a great ally in our fight against Iran and terrorism, said US president.
  • Saudis have worked closely with us to keep oil prices at reasonable levels, he added.

JEDDAH: US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States intends to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia.

In a statement issued by the White House, he said he would not cancel multibillion-dollar military deals with Riyadh, adding: “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries.”

Trump said US intelligence agencies are still studying the evidence in an attempt to discover how Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and who planned it.

“The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone,” the president said. “Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and the disposal of his body.

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information.

“We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world.”

Describing the world as “a very dangerous place,” Trump condemned Iran for its malign activity in the region.

“Iran...is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more,” he said. “Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel.’ Iran is considered ‘the world’s leading sponsor of terror.’

“Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against radical Islamic terrorism.”

Describing agreements reached during his trip to Saudi Arabia last year, Trump said: “The Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States.

“Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States.”

Trump said that members of Congress were free to reach their own conclusions. He also said he could be meeting with the crown prince at the upcoming G-20 summit in Argentina at the end of the month.

“I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so,” he said. “I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.

“After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil-producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keep oil prices at reasonable levels (which is) so important for the world. As president of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply, it is called ‘America First.’”


Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

Updated 22 April 2019
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Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

  • Al-Issa lauds Russian model of national harmony and coexistence
  • Al-Issa also met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament last month

MOSCOW: The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa held a meeting with the president of the Russian People’s Council, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, and other council members, where they discussed issues of common interest.

They looked into means of boosting cooperation between Russia and the Muslim world, supporting positive national integration programs and countering extremist speeches and Islamophobia.

Al-Issa lauded the Russian model of national harmony and coexistence, while Ordzhonikidze presented Al-Issa with a copy of the council’s yearly report.

At the meeting the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share their experiences in the fight against extremist ideologies, the promotion of interreligious dialogue and coexistence and the implementation of joint projects to achieve shared goals. They also stressed the pure and peaceful values of Islam and rejected all forms of extremism and Islamophobia.

The meeting was attended by the Russian deputy chairman of the Committee for the Development of Agriculture, Aygun Memedov, the chairman of the Committee on the Normalization of Relations Between Nationalities and Religions, Sheikh Albert Karganov, the Mufti of Moscow and the Khanti-Mansisk Region in Siberia Sheikh Tahir Samatov.

Last month, Al-Issa met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament Vyacheslav Volodin. They discussed subjects related to promoting and supporting dialogue among followers of different religions and civilizations, activating cultural contacts and exchanges between the Muslim world and Russia.

Al-Issa signed a cooperation agreement between the MWL and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic Culture, Science and Education. The agreement focused on tackling extremism and promoting tolerance. The agreement stressed the need for cooperation in the fight against extremism, intolerance, aggression and hostility among religions, races and ideologies that could lead to terrorism.

Both parties agreed to exchange information on the activities of scientific centers, cultural forums and websites.