Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out: Saudi FM

Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out: Saudi FM
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir
Updated 27 September 2018

Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out: Saudi FM

Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out: Saudi FM
  • Al-Jubeir says Iran's model of ‘sectarianism and terrorism’ is doomed to failure
  • Qatar's leadership seem to be modern but it has a ‘dark side’ of supporting extremists and terrorists

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Thursday said his country and its allies are determined to push the “world's chief sponsor of terrorism” out of the Arab world if it does not move out on its own.

“Iran has no role in the Arab world other than to get out,” Al-Jubeir said in a forum of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, a think-tank, repeating previous statements by Saudi Arabia and its allies that Iran is trying to dominate the Mideast region.

He said Iran spent the last four decades trying to entrench itself in the Arab world through proxy militias such as the Hezbollah of Lebanon, but Saudi Arabia and its allies “will work on pushing them back and I have no doubt that in the end we will succeed.”

He pointed out that the Iranians “are losing in Yemen, their position is not what it was a few years ago in Iraq, and in Syria over the long run they will lose and in Lebanon Hezbollah will change.”

Al-Jubeir’s remarks comes a day after US President Donald Trump blasted Iran in his annual address to the UN General Assembly, accusing its leaders of corruption and spreading chaos throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Iran’s economy has been on a downward spiral after Trump got the US out of a 2015 deal in which Western nations would free frozen Iranian assets in exchange for Tehran’s freezing its nuclear weapons ambitions. Iran has been accused of exploiting the deal to develop missiles that it uses to threaten its neighbors.

Al-Jubeir said Iran is solely to blame for the morass that its economy is in.

On Wednesday, the Iranian rial hit a record low against the US dollar on the unofficial market and the nation has seen growing protests amid a deterioration in the economic situation.

He said Iran’s model of “sectarianism and terrorism” is doomed to failure. “I hope that Iran can have a government that is responsible so that the Iranian people, who have a great history, can lead normal lives,” he said.

Qatar ‘dangerous behavior’

In the same forum, Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies remain open to a dialogue with Qatar with a view to restoring relations, but Doha needs to change its “dangerous” behavior first.

“We have no hostility towards Qatar, but we vehemently oppose their behavior, which is very dangerous to us and our citizens and security,” he said. “The problem with the Qataris is that they are still in denial. We need to move them from denial to introspection so they can fix the problem.”

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cut ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing their erstwhile ally of supporting terrorist and extremist groups — a charge Qatar rejects.

Specifically, the quartet accused the Qatar government and wealthy individuals and groups of sponsoring radicals, inciting people, and becoming a base for the Muslim Brotherhood since the mid-90s.

Kuwait had tried to mediate, and the  Anti-Terror Quartet — or ATQ — as the four-nation group had become known, even slashed its original 13-point demand to only six, which included committing to six principles on combatting extremism and terrorism and negotiate a plan with specific measures to implement them.

Qatar rejected the demands, and opted to fight the sanctions imposed by the quartet by seeking help from Iran and Turkey.

“I hope the Qataris change, and if they don’t we are patient people, we will wait for 10, 15, 20, 50 years,” Al-Jubeir said during the forum.

“The Qataris use their media platforms to spread hate, send weapons to Al-Qaeda-affiliated militia in Libya. The Qatari Emir was conniving with Qaddafi on how to overthrow Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“People see a young country (Qatar), young leadership, they buy fancy buildings, they have a nice airline, and they think ‘wow, these guys are really modern,’ but we have to deal with the dark side,” he said.

Yemen’s Houthis losing control

Al-Jubeir also took the occasion to explain the Saudi-led Arab coalition's campaign in Yemen in support of the UN-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against the Iran-backed Houthi militia.

“There was no way we were going to allow a radical militia allied with Iran and Hezbollah, in possession of ballistic missiles and an air force to take over a country that is strategically important to the world and that is our neighbor. So we responded to reverse the coup that the Houthis staged,” he said.

“The Houthis have every right to be part of the Yemeni political system, but have no right to dominate,” he added.

He lamented the lack of world outrage over the atrocities being committed by Houthis, including its use of children as soldiers, and starving villagers by laying siege to their towns in an effort to blame the Coalition, and firing missiles to populated areas in both Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

“The Houthis have lobbed 197 ballistic missiles at our cities, and they have fired more than 200 ballistic missiles at Yemeni cities, and I don't see any outrage,” he said. “They randomly plant mines all over the country and people lose life and limb and nobody says anything and we get blamed for it.”

On the other hand, whenever the Coalition is believed to have made a mistake in its operations, it has its own in-house body that investigates, and if non-combatants have been harmed, the probe body announces the result of the investigation and the Coalition pays compensation according to international humanitarian law.

While the Houthis are still fighting, he said they are losing and the area under their control is down to 20 percent.

Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia was hopeful that the Yemen conflict would finally be resolved politically, based on the GCC initiative, the outcome of the Yemeni dialogue and the UN security council resolution 2216.

Palestine

On the US decision to halt its contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia has added $50 million to its contribution to agency to reduce the gap from US cutbacks. Riyadh has also tripled its monthly support for the Palestinian Authority and have $150 million for the Islamic trust in Jerusalem.

“If we don't support UNWRA, the misery in the camps goes up, the potential to recruit extremists goes up and violence goes up. I hope that the US finds a way to reverse that decision or find other means to support institutions that provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in the refugee camps,” he said.

Founded in 1949, the UNRWA supports more than 5 million registered Palestinian refugees, providing them welfare and education.

Al-Jubeir further said the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem “was a mistake.”

“We believe it violates the principle of not taking unilateral actions that jeopardize the final status talks,” he said.

Ties with Iraq

In contrast with Iran and Qatar, Iraq had seen better ties with Saudi Arabia, with Al-Jubeir saying the relationship between the two countries in the last 18 months have “grown by leaps and bounds.”

“We are moving forward robustly in our relationship with Iraq,” he said, citing increased Saudi investments in Iraq, the opening up of the Iraq-Saudi the border crossing two decades after it was closed. “We are looking at more ways to improve the relationship with Iraq. We are committed to having the best of ties with Iraq.”

Saudi Arabia’s economy

On the domestic economy, Al-Jubeir Saudi Arabia is looking at a 2% growth this year and even better next year. “As the structural changes begin to kick in you would expect to see accelerated growth,” he told the forum.

He pointed to the measures taken to enhance investor confidence, including the upgrading of the Kingdom’s commercial laws and legal system to make it more transparent and efficient.

“We are trying to build a society that's based on innovations, technology, renewable energy because we think that’s where our strength is,” he said.


Saudi king, crown prince register as organ donors

Saudi king, crown prince register as organ donors
Updated 23 min 14 sec ago

Saudi king, crown prince register as organ donors

Saudi king, crown prince register as organ donors
  • The donor program is part of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have registered in an organ donor program as a humanitarian gesture, Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

“This unsurprising gesture comes within the framework of the great care that patients with final organ failure receive from the king and the crown prince, and as encouragement from the leadership for all citizens and residents to register in the organ donation program,” the statement said.

The donor program, part of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, is of “great importance because it gives hope to patients whose lives depend on new organ transplants.”

King Salman worked to establish the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation — formerly known as the National Center for Kidney Transplantation — to ease the suffering of the increasing number of patients with kidney failure.

The circle of organ donation was then expanded to include all patients with final organ failure, and to bring hope to patients on waiting lists, whose recovery depends on new organs, such as hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs and others.

“The king and crown prince’s initiative to register in the organ donor program constitutes a caring, patriarchal gesture toward patients in the end stages of organ failure, as well as one of the most important forms of solidarity known to Saudi society,” the statement said.

It also comes as support for enhancing public health levels, increasing the efficiency of the medical sector in conducting these complex operations, and contributing In raising its success rates in the future.

 

 


Saudi Arabia launches Eid aid projects in various countries

Saudi Arabia launches Eid aid projects in various countries
Updated 24 min 31 sec ago

Saudi Arabia launches Eid aid projects in various countries

Saudi Arabia launches Eid aid projects in various countries
  • The project will benefit 294,000 people and help them join in the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr

JEDDAH: As the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations are about to begin all across the world, the Kingdom is expediting its efforts to ensure that all Muslims join their brethren in the festivities by launching special aid programs.

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) distributed Eid clothes among orphans of Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in different parts of Lebanon. The program benefited 6,548 children, which also included members of the host community.

The aid packages to the cities of Tripoli, Zahle, and Dbayeh, east of the Lebanese capital Beirut, form part of the center’s project to provide Eid clothes for children.

KSrelief on Tuesday launched a project to distribute 6,876 cartons of dates weighing 55 tons to support Jordanians, Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Jordan.

Saud bin Abdul Aziz Al-Hazim, KSrelief director in Jordan, said the center distributes the aid in cooperation with the Jordanian Hashemite Charitable Organization.

In Yemen, KSrelief launched its special Eid aid program in Al-Mahrah governorate. It is part of the center’s project to benefit 42,000 families in nine governorates including Aden, Abyan, Lahj, Al-Dhale’e, Hadramout, Shabwah, Marib, and Taiz.

The project will benefit 294,000 people and help them join in the celebrations of Eid Al-Fitr.

FASTFACTS

• KSrelief distributed Eid clothes among 6,548 children in Lebanon.

• The center’s Eid program will benefit 294,000 people in Yemen.

• The center distributed 14,351 bags of rice weighing 21 kg each among 86,106 individuals in different parts of Pakistan.

• KSrelief launched a project to distribute 6,876 cartons of dates in Jordan.

The center distributed 14,351 bags of rice weighing 21 kg each among 86,106 individuals in different parts of Pakistan including Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad, Khanewal, Sahiwal, Dera Ismail Khan, and Lower Dir.

Pakistan’s Communications Minister Murad Saeed thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the humanitarian support extended to the Pakistani people and other countries.

He praised the work of the center and lauded its “dedication” in selecting beneficiaries and the overall distribution process.

KSrelief has implemented 1,556 projects worth more than $5 billion in 59 countries. The initiatives have been carried out in cooperation with 144 local, regional and international partners since the inception of the center in May 2015.

According to a recent KSrelief report, the countries and territories that benefited the most from the center’s various projects were Yemen ($3.53 billion), Palestine ($363 million), Syria ($305 million), and Somalia ($203 million).


Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 999 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 999 new cases
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 999 new cases

Saudi Arabia confirms 13 COVID-19 deaths, 999 new cases
  • The Kingdom said 1,286 patients recovered in past 24 hours
  • 8 mosques temporarily closed after some people tested positive for coronavirus

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded 13 new COVID-19 related deaths on Tuesday, raising the total number of fatalities to 7,098.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 999 new confirmed cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 428,369 people have now contracted the disease. 
Of the total number of cases, 9,169 remain active and 1,358 in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 352, followed by Makkah with 260, the Eastern Province with 120, Madinah recorded 54 and Asir confirmed 50 cases.
The health ministry also announced that 1,286 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 412,102.

The ministry renewed its call on the public to register to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs temporary closed eight mosques in four regions after some people tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed to 1,129 within 94 days, 1,114 of which have reopened after being sterilized.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 160 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 3.32 million.

 


Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives call from Bahraini counterpart, Omani sultan for Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives call from Bahraini counterpart, Omani sultan for Eid Al-Fitr
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives call from Bahraini counterpart, Omani sultan for Eid Al-Fitr

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman receives call from Bahraini counterpart, Omani sultan for Eid Al-Fitr

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received a phone call on Tuesday from Bahrain’s King Hamad to extend greetings on the advent of the Muslim Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
King Salman also received a phone call from Oman’s Sultan Haitham bin Tariq, congratulating him on Eid Al-Fitr.
King Salman also received a similar call from head of Chad’s Transitional Military Council Mahamat ibn Idriss.
The king reciprocated the sentiments, Saudi Press Agency reported.
Eid Al-Fitr, or Festival of Breaking the Fast, is celebrated by Muslims all over the world following the fasting month of Ramadan. It was announced earlier on Tuesday that Eid will start on Thursday.


Saudi foreign minister condemns Israel over Palestinian evictions, Al-Aqsa Mosque violations

Saudi foreign minister condemns Israel over Palestinian evictions, Al-Aqsa Mosque violations
Updated 12 May 2021

Saudi foreign minister condemns Israel over Palestinian evictions, Al-Aqsa Mosque violations

Saudi foreign minister condemns Israel over Palestinian evictions, Al-Aqsa Mosque violations
  • Arab League angrily denounces Israel’s ‘excessive force’ in Gaza

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister on Tuesday condemned Israel’s attempts to evict Palestinians from their homes.

Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the illegal practices of Israeli forces, especially during Ramadan, represented a flagrant violation of international charters.

His comments came during an emergency session of the Arab League foreign ministerial council to discuss Israeli violations in occupied Palestinian territories.

Prince Faisal said the Kingdom condemned the storming of the Al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli forces, violating the sanctity of worshippers, and attacks against the Palestinian people.

The Saudi foreign minister said the Kingdom “categorically rejects Israel’s plans and measures to evict Palestinians from their homes and impose sovereignty over their land.”

Saudi Arabia also condemned any unilateral measures violating international resolutions and undermining the chances of resuming the peace process.

Prince Faisal said: “The Kingdom stands with the Palestinian people, and supports all efforts aimed at reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, enabling the Palestinian people to establish their independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders agreement, with east Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with international resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative”

Saudi Arabia urges the international community to take steps to ensure Israel halts its violations, and to protect the Palestinian people, their sanctities and rights, he added.

The Arab League foreign minister’s council called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to proceed with a criminal investigation into war crimes committed by Israel against Palestinians.

It also called on the court to investigate the displacement of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and other occupied Palestinian areas. 

Weeks of clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces flared up to an exchange of fire on Monday between Hamas in Gaza and Israel. The fighting continued on Tuesday, drawing international concern and condemnation of Israel.

The Arab League’s council of foreign minsters approved the formation of a committee comprising of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Qatar, Egypt and Morocco.

The committee will communicate with members of the UN Security Council and other world powers to “urge them to take practical steps to stop the illegal Israeli policies and measures in Jerusalem.”

The foreign ministers strongly condemned the crimes committed by Israeli forces against unarmed Muslim worshipers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which escalated dangerously during Ramadan, and led to hundreds of worshippers being injured and arrested.

The statement also condemned the storming by Israel of Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, saying that the attacks could ignite a cycle of violence that threatened regional and international security.

The council said it holds Israel responsible for the consequences of these crimes that violate UN resolutions and international law.

The ministers alo strongly condemned campaigns organized by Israeli settlers, and supported by the Israeli army and police, which aim to displace Palestinians from Jerusalem, including the families of the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The council described the actions as an apartheid ethnic cleansing campaign, sponsored by the Israeli government.

It also strongly condemned the bombing and “excessive force” that deliberately targeted civilians in Gaza where at least 28 Palestinians have been killed. Two Israelis have been killed by rocket fire.