King Salman denounces Israeli premier’s annexation threat

King Salman spoke to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on the telephone on Thursday. (SPA)
Updated 13 September 2019

King Salman denounces Israeli premier’s annexation threat

  • It’s a very dangerous escalation against Palestinians, Saudi monarch tells Abbas in a call
  • Abbas expressed his appreciation of the Kingdom’s unwavering support for Palestine and its people

JEDDAH: King Salman reiterated on Thursday Saudi Arabia’s condemnation and categorical rejection of the Israeli prime minister’s stated intention to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank if he is re-elected.

In a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Salman said Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration is a very dangerous escalation against the Palestinian people, and a flagrant violation of the UN charter and international norms.

The monarch added that Israel’s attempt to impose a fait accompli will not obscure the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Abbas expressed his appreciation for the care and great importance that King Salman attaches to the Palestinian cause. 

The president also hailed the Kingdom’s consistent and firm stance toward Palestine and its people in regional and international summits and forums.

Abbas praised the Saudi call for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at the level of foreign ministers to discuss and confront Netanyahu’s declaration.

Palestine’s Foreign Ministry urged the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Israel, the occupying power, to dissuade it from carrying out the annexation, and to hold it accountable for its grave breaches of international law.

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“The pillars of Israel’s ruling right-wing coalition … are doing their utmost in conspiring to speed up putting forward the issue of annexing the occupied West Bank or large parts of it as a hot topic in the public debate in Israel,” the ministry said in a statement.

It warned of the damage that Israel’s expansion of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land is doing to prospects for peace based on a two-state solution.

“When will the (UN) Security Council and the states purporting to care for peace as per the principle of a two-state solution take practical measures to save the peace process and the two-state solution from the clutches of colonial settlement?” the ministry asked.

A spokesman for the UN secretary-general said Netanyahu’s vow would be a “serious violation of international law.” Stephane Dujarric also said the pledge would be “devastating” to the potential for peace with the Palestinians.

Russia warned that the move could sharply increase regional tensions. The Russian Foreign Ministry said it had noted the Arab world’s “strongly negative reaction” to Netanyahu’s announcement.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry condemned Netanyahu’s plan as “contradicting international law and various UN resolutions, as well as threatening the continuation of the peace process.” The Indonesian government urged OIC countries to collectively respond to what it referred to as “dangerous announcement.”


Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

Updated 16 September 2019

Houthi attack on Saudi Aramco facilities act of terror: Japanese defense minister

TOKYO: Taro Kono, the defense minister of Japan, said that threats to his country’s oil supply was the “most worrying scenario” he could imagine in international relations, in the wake of attacks on Saudi Arabian oil production facilities. 

“The most pessimistic scenario right now is that something happens in the Straits of Hormuz and the oil supply gets cut down, and that would send a shock wave through the global economy. I think the price of oil is already rising after this attack on Saudi facilities, so that’s the most worrying scenario right now,” he told a conference in Tokyo, Japan.

However, speaking on the sidelines to Arab News, he insisted that Saudi Arabia would remain a reliable partner of Japan - which imports around 40 per cent of its crude from the Kingdom - and downplayed concerns about long-term supply problems.

“Saudi has been and will be an important source of our energy supply. We have international co-ordination, and we have reserves, so we are not really worried about that,” he said. 

Kono, who was until recently Japan’s foreign minister, said that his country would be seeking to promote diplomatic solutions to the latest Middle East conflagration. "We definitely need to ease the tension between those countries. As Foreign Minister, the last thing I was doing was calling the Iranian Foreign Minister and the French Foreign Minister to ease the tension the region through diplomatic actions, and I think it's important to continue doing it.

“This Houthi attack on Saudi is a little different, because it's a terrorist attack. I think we may require some kind of military operation against those drone attacks, and that's something out of Japan's constitutional boundary. I think Japan will be focusing on diplomatic efforts in easing tension in the region.”

He raised concerns about the apparent lack of sophistication in the recent attacks. “If it is really drones, that is a lot cheaper than any form of conventional missile,” he said.