RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has confirmed that the EU is the Kingdom’s second largest trading partner and that the signing of a memorandum highlighted further cooperation between both parties.
The remarks were made on Sunday during a press conference in Riyadh between the Saudi foreign minister and EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell.
“The relations between the Kingdom and the European Union are deep and historical, and spanned for more than half a century,” Prince Faisal said.
Borrell said that the agreement signed between Saudi Arabia and the EU proved the strength of relations between the two parties, and that the EU was the largest strategic partner of the Kingdom.
The Saudi foreign minister said that the Kingdom and the UN held the first session on human rights, which he said yielded positive results. Prince Faisal emphasized regional and international issues, including Yemen and Houthi militia practices and threats, especially around Saudi airports.
Borrell said that the UN condemned the attack of Houthi militias on Saudi Arabia and was working diplomatically to prevent these attacks. He said that what was happening in Yemen was a major crisis affecting the region, and affirmed Saudi Arabia’s capability to make changes in the region and the world.
“We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s efforts to end the conflict in Yemen as well as protect its territory,” Borrell said.
In the case of Iran, Prince Faisal said that negotiations with the Iranian side were in the exploratory stage, and hoped that Iran would lay down a basis for addressing major issues.
“We spoke about our deep concern about Iran’s transgressions in the nuclear file,” he said.
Borrell said that Iran was on the verge of becoming a nuclear state, and his position was to make the negotiations a success.
His visit to Riyadh is part of a regional trip to GCC countries, including the UAE and Qatar. EU aims to advance strategic cooperation with the Gulf states on climate change, global access to vaccines and supporting the “green economy,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief told Arab News earlier.
Borrell also said that he would convene a joint cooperation council at ministerial level early next year during the Saudi presidency of the GCC.