Sahara issue: GCC stands by Morocco

Updated 21 April 2016

Sahara issue: GCC stands by Morocco

RIYADH: The GCC countries expressed total solidarity with Morocco in its dispute with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s infuriating description of Western Sahara territory as an “occupation.”
The GCC summit at Al-Diriyah Palace in Riyadh — chaired by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman — said the bloc holds great respect and regard for the Moroccan king, his country and his people.
“This meeting is a reflection of the special and distinct relations that bind GCC member states and Morocco,” said King Salman.
Addressing King Mohammed of Morocco, King Salman reiterated the keenness of the GCC states to put their bilateral relations with Morocco at the highest levels in all spheres, including political, economic, military and security. “As we appreciate your country’s supporting stances for the causes of our countries, (we) confirm our solidarity and support for all political and security-related issues concerning your country, including the Moroccan Sahara issue,” said King Salman. “We reject in totality any act that may affect Morocco’s supreme interests.”

“As we appreciate your country’s supporting stances for the causes of our countries, (we) confirm our solidarity and support for all political and security-related issues concerning your country, including the Moroccan Sahara issue,” said King Salman. “We reject in totality any act that may affect Morocco’s supreme interests.”
“Your Majesty, I would like to stress that we pay great attention to tackle Islamic and Arab nations’ issues, including the Palestinian cause and the Syrian and Libyan crises,” said King Salman. “We are keen about Iraq’s security and stability.”
“In Yemen, we want to find a solution, in accordance with the GCC initiative, outputs of the national dialogue and Security Council Resolution No. 2216,” he said. “We hope that the talks in Kuwait would achieve progress in this regard. This meeting will unify our stance and promote our relations to best serve the interests of our countries and our peoples.”
Acknowledging the support, King Mohammed said: “The security and stability of the Gulf states is in Morocco’s interest. We have similar views on common issues which increase the depth of the ties between our nations.”
Without mentioning Ban’s name, King Mohammed said the UN chief was misled by his advisers. “The summit is not directed against any particular person, but it is aimed at defending our interests.”
Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah said: “We will continue to strengthen the partnership with Morocco in light of the events experienced by the region that require unity.”
Later, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar and Foreign MInister Adel Al-Jubeir held talks.
During the meeting, they discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries. They also discussed issues of common interests.
At a press conference at the Diriyah Palace, the two ministers vowed to fight terror and extremism in the region.
Al-Jubeir said that problems in Syria, Iraq and Yemen were discussed to maintain peace and security in the region. He reiterated the Kingdom’s supportive stance on the territorial integrity of Morocco, expressing hope to find a lasting solution to the dispute over Western Sahara and attention to the issues of the regional development.
The Moroccan minister expressed his country’s full solidarity with Saudi Arabia. He also pledged his country’s fullest cooperation for the Islamic Military Coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


• King Salman leads Saudi official condemnations of Florida attack

He doesn’t represent us’: Saudis tweet in solidarity with Americans over Florida Navy base shooting

 Florida shooting ‘nothing to do with gunman’s family, tribe’

“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.