‘Restoration of Yemen govt a must to defeat Al-Qaeda’

Updated 03 April 2016
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‘Restoration of Yemen govt a must to defeat Al-Qaeda’

RARIS: Brig. Gen. Ahmad Al-Assiri, spokesman of the Arab coalition forces in Operation Decisive Storm and adviser to Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said during his visit to France that the cease-fire in Yemen will take effect on April 10.

He said Europe has downgraded the problem in Yemen to one about Al-Qaeda, which is “not right.” He said the organization fled Saudi Arabia to take shelter in Yemen, where there is no authority to oppose it. Any intention to defeat the terrorists requires strengthening Yemen's legitimate government.
He said terrorist groups grow where there is no stability or state, noting that Daesh controls places in Syria and Iraq because the two countries are currently weak, as is the case in Yemen. He said working on stabilizing Yemen will take time and will not succeed if imposed from outside. The Yemenis themselves should do this job through a capable state.
Al-Assiri cited the case of Afghanistan, which is still unstable because foreign powers have not yet succeeded after 11 years to secure stability and eliminate the Taliban.
He said the situation in Yemen has improved in comparison to last year, when the Yemeni president was imprisoned and planes bombed his palace. But today there is a political path supported by UN Envoy Ismail Oeld Cheikh and Security Council Resolution 2216.
He said that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh is “breaching the law,” which requires that the international community work on implementing the resolution to prosecute and try him.
Regarding Iranian interference in Yemen, Al-Assiri said that Iran has established a new model in the region through use of militias in Syria and Iraq, as exemplified by its use of Hezbollah in Lebanon. “The war is not a football game, but rather aims to build an internationally recognized state and government,” he said.
He said the cease-fire will take effect on April 10, and 80 percent of Yemeni territory is under the control of the legitimate government, while there are military operations that hit specific areas because the military objective is to achieve political solution and stability.
As for the Yemeni negotiations in Kuwait, he said: “Oeld Cheikh confirmed today that the militants will go to Kuwait, and if they agreed to Security Council Resolution 2216, this will be a step forward.” He said militants must provide a program for the implementation of the Security Council resolution, withdraw, hand in their weapons to the legitimate government and release all political prisoners.


Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

Updated 24 February 2019
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Visit to Pakistan, India and China proves strategic for Saudi Arabia

  • Benefits of three-country tour include billions in economic deals as well as security initiatives

JEDDAH: The three-country tour of Asia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that came to a close this weekend was an economic and strategic success, experts say.

“Saudi Arabia might be seen by some as moving to the East,” Salman Al-Ansari, founder of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC), told Arab News. “The correct way to put it is that it’s spreading its wings East and West.

“Economic diversification requires strategic diversification. This should not be seen in any way as Saudi Arabia giving the cold shoulder to its most trusted allies, specifically the US,” he said. “And as Joseph Parry said: ‘Make new friends but keep the old; those are silver, these are gold.’”

The tour, which saw Saudi Arabia’s crown prince warmly welcomed by the leaders of Pakistan, India and China, is in line with the crown prince’s Vision 2030, which plans to transform Saudi Arabia’s economy that relies on crude oil exports into a vibrant, diversified economy. The tour resulted in billions of dollars in economic deals as well as initiatives to increase security and combat terrorism.

“Saudi Arabia is the one and only country that can take the leadership position on the global efforts of combating terrorism, specifically in the ideological front,” Al-Ansari said.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, a political analyst and international relations scholar, said that China and Saudi Arabia have the same goals of security and stability. “China shares the Kingdom’s concerns and it knows that our continent has suffered from terrorism issues and international interventions and also troubles in the region.”

The two countries also improved on their mutually beneficial economic ties. As Al-Shehri pointed out: “China needs a huge energy source, and Saudi Arabia is one of these sources that can provide China with energy.”

One significant deal is the $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex, a joint venture between Saudi Aramco and Norinco, to be developed in the Chinese city of Panjin.

Also of great geopolitical significance is the $10-billion oil-refinery in Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, as it is one of the most important parts of China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, Al-Shehri said. “Global players are willing to invest in this project. The Kingdom’s investment in this field will serve Pakistan and will benefit the Kingdom as well as the (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).”

And despite its historical relationship with Pakistan, Al-Shehri said that the Kingdom also found common ground with India. For instance, the two countries agreed to set up a working group on counter-terrorism. 

“India shares the Kingdom’s concern about instability in the seas, such as the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. These are all places of global trade,” Al-Shehri said, adding that he hopes the Kingdom will play a role in resolving border points of contention between Pakistan and India as it did between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

It wasn’t all just business. The crown prince’s tour included some other announcements, including that 2,100 Pakistani and 850 Indian prisoners will be released from the Kingdom’s jails, that the Chinese language will be introduced in the Saudi school curriculum and that Saudi Arabia will soon host several concerts featuring major Bollywood performers.

The crown prince also called for the creation of a health center in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province dedicated to the memory of a Pakistani hero who saved 14 lives in Jeddah’s 2009 floods.