Resolving Palestinian issue vital to world stability: Saudi Shoura Council speaker

Saudi Shoura Council Speaker Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh speaks at the 14th session of the Conference of the Union of Councils of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in Rabat. SPA
Updated 15 March 2019

Resolving Palestinian issue vital to world stability: Saudi Shoura Council speaker

  • OIC urged to step up efforts to fight terrorism and its Iranian backers

RIYADH: The Saudi Shoura Council speaker pledged the Kingdom’s commitment to resolving the Palestinian issue which was vital to securing Middle Eastern and world stability.

Dr. Abdullah Al-Asheikh told delegates at the Conference of the Union of Councils of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries that Saudi Arabia stood firm in rejecting any call to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli occupation forces.

In a wide-ranging address to the 14th session of the conference, being held in the Moroccan capital Rabat, Al-Asheikh also called for concerted efforts to confront terrorism and its supporters, particularly Iran.

And he stressed the importance of Islamic states and the international community working together to find political solutions to the crises in Syria and Yemen.

The speaker affirmed that by using its global Islamic, political and economic clout, the Kingdom was keen to support its brotherly countries in eliminating injustices wherever they existed in the world.

Al-Asheikh told council heads that the Palestinian issue was at the top of the Kingdom’s agenda.

Al-Asheikh renewed the Kingdom’s support for Yemen and all efforts to reach a political solution to the crisis there.

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 22 min 10 sec ago

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.