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Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of The King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre (KSRelief) presented the details of the Kingdom’s aid program in Brussels. Following meetings with EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides, Dr Al Rabeeah also took the time to explain the valuable work conducted by KSRelief as part of Saudi Arabia’s role as one of the world’s leading humanitarian donors.

The aims of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre

KSRelief’s main achievements since its foundation in 2015

Key current areas of focus for KSRelief

The main challenges ahead for the Centre

KSRelief’s priorities for 2017

A medical background at the heart of KSRelief’s leadership

Support for refugees in the Middle East

Forging ties with the EU

Dr Al Rabeeah’s takeways from his trip to Brussels

How KSRelief and the EU’s DG ECHO can learn from each other

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM (19th October 2016): Dr Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of The King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre (KSRelief), has presented the details of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Humanitarian Aid & Relief Program in Brussels in the context of bi-lateral meetings with senior Commission officials and EU policymakers . The Kingdom is one of the world’s leading humanitarian donors, and continues to increase its contributions.

Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian aid activities date back as far as 1950, and in the last month alone the Kingdom pledged 67 million euros to support refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria, as well as 90 million euros to support the rebuilding of the Afghan state. Over the past 40 years, Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian contributions totalling over 125 billion euros have helped to improve the lives of people in over 80 countries with complete political impartiality.

Speaking after meetings with Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner responsible for humanitarian aid and crisis, Dr Al Rabeeah said,  “I have been very glad to raise awareness of the invaluable work of KSRelief in Brussels and to lay the foundation for a closer collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate General ECHO towards the exchange of information and visiting teams on humanitarian work and improve coordination on the ground.”

KSRelief, the organisation founded in 2015 to manage and coordinate international relief activities, is currently prioritising its work in Yemen in the form of the “Regaining of Hope” initiative, and in Syria. KSRelief has launched projects to support healthcare provision, food security and shelter for the Yemeni people both in the country and in refugee camps in the region.

About KSRelief: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre (KSRelief) is a Saudi foundation specialised in the provision of international relief and humanitarian aid. The centre was founded in May 2015 under the sponsorship of his Excellency, Custodian of the two holy mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The centre operates a range of programs following state-of-the-art models which enable the centre to deliver relief to the world’s crisis-stricken communities and re-establish dignity for those in need.


  • October 19, 2016

Dr. Mohammed Amin Ahmad Jefri, the Deputy Speaker of Saudi Arabia’s consultative council – Majlis Ash-Shura –  was warmly welcomed to the European Parliament on 11 October by members of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET).

Dr Al-Jefri was first introduced by the chair Ioan Paşcu (from the EPP group, Romania). Both men highlighted in their opening statements that open and regular dialogue is of great importance so that Saudi Arabia and EU can work in partnership to overcome the raft of common challenges they face. Dr al-Jefri went on to make a comprehensive opening statement covering EU-KSA cooperation, regional issues including Iran, Syria, Yemen, the fight against terrorism and internal issues including Saudi Arabia’s rapid development as a state, women’s rights and the legal system. He also touched on the recently passed American Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which he criticised as eroding sovereign immunity and endangering the international legal order.

The importance of the EU-KSA relationship was mirrored by the chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the Arab Peninsula Michèle Aliot-Marie (from EPP group, France), who underscored that candid dialogue remains the foundation of the trusted partnership that allows the EU and the Kingdom to work together to prevent radicalisation, counter terrorism and help bring peace to Yemen and Syria.

Despite differences of opinion between some committee members and Dr Al-Jefri, the comprehensive exchange of views proved to be fruitful. Dr Al-Jefri gave full answers to a series of questions from Ulrike Lunacek (Austria, Greens), Richard Howitt and Afzal Khan (UK, S&D), Javier Couso Permuy (Spain, GUE/NGL), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (Italy, EFDD) and Mario Borghezio (Italy, ENF), and MEPs learnt, amongst other things, about the extent of the Kingdom’s humanitarian relief efforts and the 2.5 million Syrians brothers welcomed into the Kingdom since the beginning of the conflict. Dr Nhuad, one of the thirty female members of the Shura Council,  spoke on the development of the role of women in Saudi society, highlighting participation in higher education and the workforce, and representation in politics. She added that restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia are primarily down to social mores rather than laws, and that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 transformation plan will further boost women’s participation in the workforce.

Before closing the session, Dr Al-Jefri thanked members of the committee for their interest and the respectful exchange of views, and encouraged them to visit the Kingdom to make up their own mind about Saudi Arabia based on first-hand experiences.

A recording of the exchange of views can be streamed here.

  • October 14, 2016

The US Congress’ Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (or JASTA) is of great concern to the whole community of nations that object to the erosion of the principle of sovereign immunity as well as the principle of sovereign equality between states enshrined in the UN Charter. The concept of sovereign immunity has governed international relations for hundreds of years. Removing or limiting these protections could have the unintended consequences of exposing countries to private lawsuits in foreign courts as a result of important military or intelligence activities.

Implementing JASTA would have a negative impact on the US, the European Union’s Member States and all nations. It is for this reason that the EU and several of its Member States as well as the US President, Secretary of Defense and Director of the CIA have expressed their opposition to JASTA in its current form.

In a letter to the US Department of State, the EU delegation to Washington D.C. said the implementation of JASTA “would be in conflict with the fundamental principles of international law,” adding that it could “put a burden on bilateral relations between states as well as on the international order as a whole.”

The spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has declared that along with all EU partners, they consider that the so-called JASTA bill runs contrary to international law. These sentiments have also been echoed by a 28-strong bipartisan group of US senators in a letter addressed  to the sponsors of the bill, calling for the legislation to be narrowed in order to mitigate its unintended consequences. Equally Saudi Minister of Justice Dr. Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani said enacting JASTA would “trigger chaos in international relations, and would topple mutual trust between states and adversely affect all areas of international cooperation.”

It is our hope that wisdom will prevail and that Congress will take the necessary steps to correct this legislation in order to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue.


  • October 3, 2016