Saudi, German foreign ministers discuss regional, global issues

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan meets German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday. (Photo/Twitter: @FaisalbinFarhan)
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Updated 21 February 2020

Saudi, German foreign ministers discuss regional, global issues

  • The duo discussed the regional situation, in particular Iranian interventions in the Middle East, in Syria, Iraq and Yemen

BERLIN: Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan met German Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday.

During the meeting, bilateral relations between the two countries were discussed.

After the meeting, the two ministers held a joint press conference during which Prince Faisal described the relations between Saudi Arabia and Germany as historical and strong.

He stressed that there was close cooperation between the two countries in several fields, including economically and in terms of political consultation, and said he looked forward to intensifying this cooperation.

Prince Faisal condemned the twin shootings in the German city of Hanau on Thursday, emphasizing the Kingdom’s solidarity with Germany and the families of the victims, and expressing his grief over what happened.

He pointed out that his talks with his German counterpart were fruitful and constructive and focused on bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them, in addition to developments in the Middle East.

“There is general agreement in views regarding the necessity of promoting peaceful solutions to resolve disputes,” he said. “We also discussed the situation in Yemen, and I explained the recent negative developments, including the missile attacks on civilian cities by the Houthis and their continuous military escalation, which indicates they are not serious about seeking a political solution to this crisis.

“We therefore encourage all international actors to stress the importance of supporting the (Saudi-led) coalition and the legitimate Yemeni government’s efforts to find a political solution,” he added.

Prince Faisal commended the international community’s stance towards the actions of the Houthi militias, and condemnation for the rebels’ prevention of aid reaching parts of Yemen.

He said that he discussed with Maas the regional situation, in particular Iranian interventions in the Middle East, in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He reviewed the Kingdom’s position on the importance of continuing pressure on Iran until it heads in a peaceful direction, and avoids intervening in the affairs of its neighbors.

Prince Faisal hailed the efforts of the German government at the Berlin Conference regarding the crisis in Libya, emphasizing the Kingdom’s supportive stance for efforts aimed at resolving the situation.

“As I explained to my German counterpart, we are greatly concerned about Turkey sending Syrian fighters to northern Libya because this contributes to the continuing instability in that country and fuels the conflict. We will continue to support all efforts that seek a peaceful solution … to end that suffering, he said.”

Maas welcomed Prince Faisal and said that the talks covered several topics, including the Kingdom's hosting of the G20 summit, highlighting the areas of development in the Kingdom.

He said: “The talks touched on the most prominent issues in the region. We are concerned about the violations by Iran through its nuclear program; therefore, we focus in particular on negotiations and dialogue. We have also activated the conflict resolution mechanism to focus on that we are not convinced of these violations and want to increase pressure on Iran.”

On the Yemeni issue, Maas demanded an end to the escalation and a return to dialogue and a political solution under the supervision of the UN.

He also discussed Berlin's efforts to solve the Libyan crisis, stressing the importance of the Kingdom's support for Germany's efforts in this regard and highlighting its vital role in dealing with crises in the region.


US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

Updated 10 July 2020

US court orders Iran to pay $879 million to 1996 Khobar bombing survivors

  • The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material for the attack
  • The Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia were housing US forces when it was bombed in 1996

DUBAI: A United States federal court held Iran responsible for the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where US forces were housed, and ordered Tehran to pay $879 million to survivors. 

The Khobar Towers was a housing complex in the eastern city of Khobar, near the Abdulaziz Air Base and Saudi Aramco’s headquarters in Dhahran, that housed American servicemen working on Operation Southern Watch.

A truck bomb was detonated on June 25, 1996, near an eight-story building of the housing complex, which killed 19 US Air Force personnel and a Saudi national and wounded 498 others.

The court ruled that the Iranian government directed and provided material support to Hezbollah who detonated the 5,000-pound truck bomb, a Chicago law firm press release said. The attackers reportedly smuggled the explosives used in the attack from Lebanon. 


The lawsuit was brought under the terrorism exception of the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act by the 14 injured US airmen and 21 of their immediate family members.

The defendants in the case were listed as the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security.

 

 

“We will continue to seek to hold the Government of Iran accountable for this terrorist attack as long as is necessary,” said Adora Sauer, the lead attorney of MM LAW LLC.

US District Judge Beryl A. Howell found the defendants liable and awarded the plaintiffs $132 million for pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment interest, for a total compensatory damage award of $747 million and $132 million for punitive damages.


The court also said the plaintiffs are eligible for partial payments from the US Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund, which compensates American victims of acts of international terrorism with funds obtained from fines and forfeitures levied against companies caught illegally laundering money for sanctioned countries and persons. 

The attorneys also intend to pursue enforcement of the judgments through litigation intended to seize Iranian assets.

“The physical and psychological toll on our families has been extremely high, but this judgment is welcome news. More than 20 years on, we want the world to remember the evil that Iran did at the Khobar Towers. Through the work of our attorneys, we intend to do just that,” said Glenn Christie, a retired Air Force staff sergeant crew chief who was severely injured in the bombing.


“The massive explosion took so much from their minds and bodies on the day of the attack in 1996 and every day and night since then. They can now live with that balance justice provides,” according to John Urquhart of the Urquhart Law Firm, who also represents the bombing victims.