Mali crisis in spotlight at Saudi-French defense talks

Updated 30 January 2013
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Mali crisis in spotlight at Saudi-French defense talks

Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, held talks here yesterday with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on major regional and international developments.
A French diplomat in Riyadh said the talks focused on Mali intervention.
Prince Salman and Le Drian “discussed topics of common interest, and the latest developments at the regional and international levels,” the SPA said, adding that the French minister handed the crown prince a message from President Francois Hollande to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
In France, news media reported that the French intervention in Mali would top Le Drian’s agenda in his Riyadh talks. Radio France International (RFI) quoted its correspondent in Riyadh Clarence Rodriguez as saying: “The war in Mali gives a whole new dimension to the coming of the French minister of defense.”
Rodriguez said France explains in the letter to King Abdullah “the underlying reasons for its military intervention in Mali and the real motives of France.” RFI correspondent said the French minister would explain the temporary nature of the involvement in Mali.
“Saudi Arabia, a pole of stability in the region, is committed to the fight against Al-Qaeda,” Rodriguez said, adding that the French official would also discuss with the Saudi officials the crisis in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The French diplomat told AFP that Le Drian’s visit was planned before the French intervention in Mali.
The French minister also met with Prince Khaled bin Sultan, deputy defense minister, as well as the National Guard chief, Prince Miteb.


Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Jeddah on Tuesday. SPA
Updated 34 min 16 sec ago
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Saudi efforts to ‘heal Afghan division’ win royal approval

  • The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers
  • China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has expressed his appreciation to scholars who took part in the International Ulema Conference on Peace and Security in Afghanistan in Makkah, saying the Kingdom was making efforts to “heal the divisions and differences among the Afghan people.”

Chairing the Cabinet session at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Tuesday, the king said Saudi Arabia was working toward “unifying the ranks and words of Muslims worldwide.”
He briefed the Cabinet on the results of his recent talks with President Cyril Ramaphosa, of South Africa, on future cooperation between the two countries.
The Cabinet welcomed the final statement by the Makkah conference calling on states, organizations and Islamic elites to play positive roles in achieving security and peace in Afghanistan.
The forum urged all Afghan factions to halt the fighting and work toward “reconciliation between brothers, extinguishing the fire of sedition.”
Muslims worldwide should continue their “firm stand in front of the advocates of violence and extremism in defense of their religion and maintaining the unity of the Islamic world,” it said.
The Cabinet also reviewed a ministerial meeting of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum in Beijing and welcomed a decision by Chinese leader President Xi Jinping to establish an Arab-Chinese strategic partnership.
China’s Belt and Road initiative will link the interests of China and Arab countries and “add to the prosperity and economic advancement of all,” it said.
The Cabinet denounced recent suicide attacks on two election gatherings in Pakistan and the city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and offered condolences to families of the victims.
In the local arena, the Cabinet extended its appreciation to the king, based on a report by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for pardoning all troops who have taken part in the Saudi Renewal of Hope operation in Yemen of their military and disciplinary penalties for their heroism and sacrifices.
The Cabinet approved a license for the Iraqi Commercial Bank to open a branch in Saudi Arabia and authorized the Minister of Finance to decide on any subsequent requests to open other branches.