Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Updated 22 March 2015

Sweden tries to end maelstrom over Wallstrom

Sweden’s Parliament summoned Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom to formally appear in an investigation into the crisis she caused with her criticism of Saudi Arabia, Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Saturday.
Swedish-Saudi trade ties have been greatly affected by Wallstrom’s statement and are now uncertain after the Saudi decision to halt visas for Swedish businessmen and not renew expired visas.
Wallstrom tried to back down on her statement and said Saudi Arabia is a pivotal country in the Middle East and its stand is very important to Sweden and EU countries.
In her statement before Parliament, Wallstrom said: “Saudi Arabia is a member of the G-20 countries and holds a key to many international issues, and is also one of the important donors in the world, not to mention its role in international efforts to combat terrorism.”
She said the cooperation agreements between the two countries in other areas would not be affected by the decision to not renew the military agreement between her country and Saudi Arabia.
Wallstrom stressed the respect of Sweden for Islam as a global religion, and its contribution to human civilization.
Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Swedish Royal Court said King Carl XVI Gustaf wants to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis and he will meet Wallstrom on Monday.
According to Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Erik Boman, the meeting comes at an appropriate time.
“It is important to have a dialogue and good relations between nations,” said the king.
Separately, on Friday, the Comoros declared its support to Saudi Arabia in its row with Sweden.
In a statement, the Comoros expressed its rejection and condemnation of anti-Saudi remarks by Wallstrom.
“The Swedish foreign minister’s remarks are deemed interference in internal affairs of the Kingdom,” said the Ministry of Foreign Relations of the Comoros. “(Wallstrom’s) abusive remarks are against 1.5 billion Muslims of the world and not just against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said a statement carried by the SPA. It said the Comoros called on all nations of the world “to respect the values of coexistence, tolerance of cultures and respect for all religions.”


King Salman to chair 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

Updated 43 min 18 sec ago

King Salman to chair 40th Gulf summit in Riyadh

RIYADH: A meeting of GCC leaders met today in Riyadh for a summit that will focus on improving integration between Gulf countries.

The 40th Supreme Council meeting will be chaired by King Salman.

GCC Secretary General Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani said Gulf leaders will discuss a number of important issues to enhance the process of cooperation and integration among member states in various political, defense, security, economic and social fields.

They will also review regional and international political developments, security conditions in the region, and their implications for the security and stability of the GCC countries.

Among the topics on the agenda is the war in Yemen and Iran’s interference in regional affairs.