Saudi Arabia confirms commitment to peace-building at UN forum

Saudi envoy to UN, Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, emphasizes the need for the UN to play a more active role in building peace. (File photo)
Updated 27 April 2018

Saudi Arabia confirms commitment to peace-building at UN forum

  • Saudi Arabia is committed to fundamental principles that are at the forefront of the task of building and maintaining peace, says KSA envoy to the UN
  • Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi made the assertion during a peace-building and peace-keeping event on Thursday at the UN General Assembly

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia affirmed its commitment to the principles of peace-building and its emphasis on justice in its international dealings and efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully.

The statement at a peace-building and peace-keeping event on Thursday at the UN General Assembly in New York was delivered by Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Ambassador to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi.

“My country is committed to fundamental principles that are at the forefront of the task of building and maintaining peace. My country asserts that the basic pillar of peace-building and maintaining peace is achieving justice. Without justice, peace cannot flourish, even if periods of non-violence prevailed,” Al-Mouallimi said.

He added: “The first example of peace that is still out of reach because of the lack of justice is the Palestinian cause, where the Palestinian people have been under occupation for decades without any hope that these people will be able to obtain their legitimate rights to establish their independent state on the borders of the fourth of June 1967 with its capital Al-Quds Al-Sharif.

“My country has always endeavored to resolve disputes peacefully, and in this regard has made the initiative one after the other. In the Palestinian cause, my country has advanced the Arab peace initiative adopted by the Arab states at the Arab Summit in Beirut in 2002. On the Yemeni issue, my country led the peace process of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative, which led to a peaceful transition to power before the Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, seized power.

“In Syria, my country united the opposition in preparation for serious negotiations with the Syrian government to implement the Geneva 1 statement and Security Council Resolution 2254, and in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq and elsewhere, my country has raised the banner of peace and harmony among brothers and has worked to bring the various parties closer together.

“My country has also promoted a culture of dialogue, mutual understanding and tolerance internally and externally. It has established national and international centers such as the  King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND), the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (GCCEI), King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), the UN Counter-Terrorism Center (UNCCT), and others.”

Al-Mouallimi said: “We emphasize the need for the UN to play a more active role in building peace and consolidating its foundations by promoting sustainable development, especially in developing countries, and by working closely with regional and subregional organizations and supporting their abilities to achieve peace and avoid conflicts.”

He added: “We hope that your meeting will adopt a work program that includes these elements and emphasizes achieving justice and development, which are the cornerstones of international security and peace.”


French police target extremist networks after teacher’s beheading

Updated 30 min 43 sec ago

French police target extremist networks after teacher’s beheading

  • President Emmanuel Macron: Extremists should not be allowed sleep soundly in our country
  • French teachers have long complained of tensions around religion and identity spilling over into the classroom

PARIS: French police on Monday launched a series of raids targeting extremist networks three days after the beheading of a history teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

The operation came a day after tens of thousands of people took part in rallies countrywide to honor history teacher Samuel Paty and defend freedom of expression.

Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin said “dozens” of individuals were being probed for suspected radicalization.

While they were “not necessarily linked” to Paty’s killing, the government aimed to send a message that there would be “not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic,” he added.

Darmanin said the government would also tighten the noose on NGOs with suspected links to extremist networks.

“Fear is about to change sides,” President Emmanuel Macron told a meeting of key ministers Sunday to discuss a response to the attack.

“Extremists should not be allowed sleep soundly in our country,” he said.

Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Paris.

A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, an 18-year-old Chechen man Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police.

The grisly killing has drawn parallels with the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, where 12 people, including cartoonists, were gunned down for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Paty had shown his civics class one of the controversial cartoons.

According to his school, Paty had given Muslim children the option to leave the classroom before he showed the cartoon in a lesson on free speech, saying he did not want their feelings hurt.

The lesson sparked a furor nonetheless and Paty and his school received threats.

Eleven people are being held over his murder, including a known radical and the father of one of Paty’s pupils, who had launched an online campaign against the teacher.

Darmanin accused the two men of having issued a “fatwa” against Paty, using the term for an edict that was famously used to describe the 1989 death sentence handed down against writer Salman Rushdie by Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini.

Anzorov’s family arrived in France from the predominantly Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya when he was six.

Locals in the Normandy town of Evreux where he lived described him as a loner who had become increasingly religious in recent years.

Police are trying to establish whether he acted alone.

Four members of his family are being held for questioning.

In scenes reminiscent of the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, when over a million people marched through Paris to defend press freedom, people again gathered at the central Place de la Republique on Sunday to express their horror over Paty’s death.

Some in the crowd chanted “I am Samuel,” echoing the 2015 “I am Charlie” rallying call for free speech.

French teachers have long complained of tensions around religion and identity spilling over into the classroom.

The government has vowed to step up security at schools when pupils return after half-term.

Far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, who laid a wreath outside Paty’s school on Monday, called for “wartime legislation” to combat the terror threat.

Le Pen, who has announced she will make a third bid for the French presidency in 2022, called for an “immediate” moratorium on immigration and for all foreigners on terror watchlists to be deported.

Paty’s beheading was the second knife attack since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo killings.

The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside the publication’s old office.