Trump’s stance on Iran, Daesh cause for optimism: Al-Jubeir

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. (File photo)
Updated 17 January 2017

Trump’s stance on Iran, Daesh cause for optimism: Al-Jubeir

PARIS: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Monday he was positive about the incoming US administration and especially about the way it wanted to restore American influence in the world, contain Iran and fight Daesh.
“We are optimistic about the incoming administration and look forward to working with it in all areas that are a concern for both of us,” Al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris.
“We will look at the Trump administration’s view as articulated. Wanting to restore America’s role in the world, we welcome this. Wanting to defeat ISIS, absolutely. Wanting to contain Iran ... absolutely.”
Al-Jubeir said the interests of Saudi Arabia were aligned with those of the US — be it geopolitically, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran; or on energy and financial issues.
“The objectives we want to achieve are the same. We may have disagreements on how to get there, but we do not disagree on what needs to be done, and that will not change,” he said.
When asked specifically about Riyadh’s relationship with Iran, Al-Jubeir accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.
“Our relationship with Iran is tense and it is in function of its aggressive and hostile policies. It would be wonderful to live in peace and harmony with Iran, but it takes two to tango,” Al-Jubeir said, speaking in English.
“We cannot be subject to death and destruction and expect to turn the other cheek. We tried, but it did not work.”
Al-Jubeir added that proposed talks in the Kazakh capital Astana aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Syria were worth testing, but should not be construed as Riyadh abandoning moderate opposition groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
“The objective is to arrive at a cease-fire and move on to the political process. Let us test it. So far it has not succeeded,” he said. “If it does, then we go down the political path, but that does not mean we abandon the moderate opposition.”
He also said that Britain’s decision to leave the EU would not have an impact on Riyadh’s relationship with London or the bloc.


Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

Updated 21 min 1 sec ago

Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions

  • Curfew to be eased on Sunday, except in Makkah, as domestic travel permitted
  • All curfews in Saudi Arabia to be lifted by June 20

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced the easing of restrictions that has halted much of the activity in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Sunday 31, May, the curfew on all areas of the Kingdom will be eased, except Makkah. Movement in cities and within the regions of the country will again be permitted, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

The easing will mean the Kingdom’s 24-hour lockdown is relaxed with a curfew from 3 p.m to 6 a.m until Sunday, after which the hours will change to 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.. Makkah will remain under a full 24-hour lockdown.

On June 21, all curfews in the Kingdom will be lifted and prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be permitted.

Before then, social distancing guidelines must continue to be adhered to and gatherings of more than 50 people will continue to be banned.

Authorities have also allowed the attendance at ministries, government agencies and private sector companies, and the return of their office activities.

Some economic and commercial activities will also be allowed to take place including those at wholesale and retail shops, as well as malls. Cafes will be permitted to operate once more.

However, all job sectors where social distancing rules are harder to achieve such as beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

Umrah pilgrimage and international flights will continue to be suspended until further notice.

The new rules are subject to constant evaluation at the health ministry and can be changed if the situation warrants it.

Earlier, Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, the health minister, said: “The phases start gradually until we return to normalcy, with its new concept based on social distancing.” 

He added that the precautionary steps taken by the Kingdom early in the outbreak helped to limit the spread of the virus. 

Now, he said, the ministry has developed a plan for the next phase that relies on two main factors: The capacity of the health care system to cope with critical cases, and the expansion of testing to identify new infections as soon as possible.

Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.” 

The Kingdom recorded 2,235 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the total to 74,795, and the death toll rose by nine to 399. Worldwide the virus has infected more than 5.5 million people and killed nearly 350,000.