Saudi Arabia, UAE urge Yemenis to resolve differences through dialogue

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (SPA)
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2019

Saudi Arabia, UAE urge Yemenis to resolve differences through dialogue

  • The call followed talks between Saudi King Salman and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
  • Saudi Arabia earlier called for an urgent meeting between the warring parties

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the UAE urged Yemenis on Monday to observe a cease-fire in Aden and resolve their differences through dialogue.

The call followed talks in Mina between Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, and Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“The UAE and Saudi Arabia call on conflicting Yemeni parties to prioritize dialogue and reason for the interest of Yemen,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Dialogue was “the only way to resolve differences between Yemenis,” he said.   

Saudi Arabia’s call for an urgent meeting between the warring parties “embodies our common concern for Yemen’s stability,” he said.

Sheikh Mohammed urged Yemeni factions to “seize this opportunity, and carry out talks to reach a consensus that is in the best interest of Yemen and its people.”

He also said that the Arab Coalition fighting to restore the legitimate government in Yemen, led by Saudi Arabia, has played a historic role and continues to support Yemen and its current and future interests.

The crown prince also stressed that relations between the UAE and Saudi Arabia will always remain stable, because they are based on solid foundations of brotherhood, solidarity and common destiny, in addition to the political will of the of the two countries’ leaderships and the ties between their peoples.

“The Kingdom is the main pillar of the region’s security, stability and safety in the face of risks and threats, because of the Kingdom’s weight and influence on the regional and international arenas, and its policy under the the leadership of King Salman,” he added.

Yemen’s latest crisis erupted when southern separatist forces seized the presidential palace and army camps in Aden on Saturday, threatening to open a new front in the Saudi-led coalition’s conflict with Houthi militias backed by Iran. Up to 40 people, including civilians, were killed in violent clashes.

The situation is confused because the separatists support the coalition, but they are opposed to the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which the coalition backs. The separatists want an independent south Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has called for dialogue and a cease-fire in Aden, which both the Yemeni government and separatists have said they support. The separatists’ leader, Southern Transitional Council President Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, said on Monday his group still backed the coalition against the Houthis and would attend a proposed emergency summit in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who also attended the meeting, held separate talks with his Emirati counterpart, according to a Saudi foreign ministry tweet.

They “reviewed the close relations between the two brotherly countries,” the situation in Yemen and “the various efforts toward achieving security and stability,” it said.

Riyadh has called for dialogue and a cease-fire, which both the Yemeni government and separatists have said they support.

Residents in Aden said on Monday the fighting had ended, flights from the airport had resumed and power and water supplies had been restored.

“It is quiet now but people are still worried. We don’t know where matters are heading,” resident Adel Mohammed said.


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. (AFP)

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.”


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“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.” 

Opinion

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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.