GCC, US join forces to crush Daesh

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Updated 21 April 2016

GCC, US join forces to crush Daesh

RIYADH: It is vital for the GCC and the US to work together because of the security challenges facing the region, said Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy premier and defense minister, on Wednesday.
Speaking at a meeting between GCC defense ministers and Ashton Carter, US defense secretary, at Al-Diriyah Palace, the deputy crown prince said: “Today we must work seriously to confront these challenges...”
He said the meeting was taking place as the region and world face serious challenges, including the threat of terrorism, unstable countries and Iran’s interference in the affairs of several countries.
He said he was optimistic that there would be a successful outcome to the meeting, considering the long-standing relationship between the GCC and the United States, according to SPA.
Carter said that there was a common willingness to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and to seek stability and security in the region. He thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the country’s leaders for bringing the two sides together, and said the concern was to tackle the crises in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.
The US and the Kingdom agreed to improve and make stronger the Gulf missile system, strengthen special forces and boost maritime security.
Later at a press conference with Abdullatif Al-Zayani, GCC secretary-general, Carter said the meeting with the GCC ministers focused on several areas, including defeating Daesh, confronting Iran’s attempts to destabilize the region and supporting efforts for stability and security in the Middle East.
“The US and the GCC would stage joint maritime patrols to stop Iran from supplying weapons to terrorists,” said Al-Zayani.
Carter urged GCC members to be more engaged in helping the Iraqi government fight Daesh and to rebuild areas where militants have been pushed out.
Al-Zayani described the meeting as constructive and said that discussions were held on military cooperation, including missile defense systems, maritime security, armaments, military training and cyber security.
He confirmed that the two sides discussed the disputes and wars endangering the region, and international efforts to fight Daesh.
The GCC ministers expressed concern over Iran’s designs to destabilize the region’s security and stability, its interference in the domestic affairs of the region’s countries and support for terrorist organizations, he said.
Al-Zayani said that Carter vowed to stand by the GCC and provide training to the GCC armed forces. There would also be support in terms of medical expertise and communications systems.


Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia's envoy to UK: We won’t allow Iran to meddle in region 

  • “You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness,” Prince Khalid said
  • The ambassador encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it

LONDON: Riyadh does not seek conflict with Tehran but will not let “Iran’s meddling in the region” go unchecked, said the Saudi ambassador to Britain. 
“We do not seek conflict. We do not seek escalation. We have always been supporters of taking a firm stand against Iran. Our issue is not with the people of Iran, it is with the regime running the country,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan told the Daily Telegraph. 
“But we do not believe in appeasement. At no point in history has appeasement proved to be a successful strategy. You cannot give in to a country like Iran because they will see it as a sign of weakness.”
France, Germany and the UK, three of the signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), triggered a “dispute resolution mechanism” recently in response to Iran ramping up its nuclear program in violation of the deal.
Prince Khalid criticized the JCPOA because it does not address “all the other things that Iran” is doing in the region.
“Iran’s meddling in the region is as challenging as the nuclear program. This is why we were concerned with the nuclear deal,” he said.
The ambassador also touched on recent allegations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in hacking the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
“It is very easy for people to throw these unsubstantiated allegations against Saudi Arabia because they know that it is very difficult for Riyadh to defend itself when it does not have proper access to the details,” Prince Khalid said.
“We need to see the evidence before we make any response, because the evidence made public so far is circumstantial at best.”
Saudis do not always represent themselves well because they are “a reticent people and our culture does not push us to talking about ourselves,” he said. “We need to do a better job on showing the world who we really are.” 
The ambassador, who was appointed last year, encouraged people to visit his country before forming an opinion of it. 
“There are a lot of misconceptions about Saudi Arabia. We want people to come and see Saudi Arabia for themselves, and not rely on what they have read somewhere or heard somewhere to form their opinion of the country,” he said.
“There is plenty to see, and you will find a warm, generous and hospitable people there waiting to greet you.”