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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), has contributed US$ 67 million for projects to be implemented in Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan. The three agreements were signed today by the SFD Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, H.E. Eng. Yousef al-Bassam, and the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Pierre Krähenbühl.

The first agreement, valued at US$ 28 million, will support ongoing projects, including the reconstruction of shelters in Gaza. The second agreement, valued at US$ 32 million, will assist UNRWA in the reconstruction and furnishing of several health centres and schools in the West Bank and the implementation of several other ongoing projects. The third agreement, valued at US$ 7 million, will provide funds for the reconstruction, furnishing and equipping of two health centres and one school in Jordan.

H.E. Eng. al-Bassam said: “We are a proud partner of UNRWA, which is doing an excellent job of transparently portraying the true situation of Palestine refugees. We shall continue to support UNRWA and we look forward as always to witnessing the impact of these projects on Palestine refugees.”

Expressing his gratitude, Mr. Krähenbühl said: “I am extremely grateful to the government and the people of Saudi Arabia for the sustained support that the Kingdom has extended to UNRWA over the years. The Kingdom has always been forthcoming in its support towards Palestine refugees. I would like to express particular appreciation for the role played by the Saudi Fund for Development in delivering Saudi assistance. Our partnership with the Fund is of high importance to the Agency and deeply appreciated.”

In 2016 alone, Saudi Arabia has contributed more than US$ 150 million to UNRWA, making the Kingdom the second largest donor after the United States. Saudi Arabia has also been a valued member of the UNRWA Advisory Commission, which advises and assists the Commissioner-General in carrying out the Agency’s mandate, since 2005.


UNRWA is confronted with an increased demand for services resulting from a growth in the number of registered Palestine refugees, the extent of their vulnerability and their deepening poverty. UNRWA is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions and financial support has been outpaced by the growth in needs. As a result, the UNRWA Programme Budget, which supports the delivery of core essential services, operates with a large shortfall. UNRWA encourages all Member States to work collectively to exert all possible efforts to fully fund the Agency’s Programme Budget. UNRWA emergency programmes and key projects, also operating with large shortfalls, are funded through separate funding portals.

UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip achieve their full human development potential, pending a just and lasting solution to their plight. UNRWA services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

  • November 30, 2016

Abdulrahman S. Alahmed: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and head of mission to the EU.

Brx Amb photo

On 28 September, the US Congress enacted the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) in a bipartisan vote, in spite of vigorous protests from President Obama, US national security officials and experts, the EU and numerous foreign governments and business leaders. President Obama used his prerogative to veto the bill, but for the first time in his administration, Congress overrode the presidential veto.

The bill, originally conceived in the context of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States, horrendous acts that our kingdom has firmly condemned on several occasions, opens the door to lawsuits against any country, and ultimately its personnel, and fails to foresee the unintended consequence: the undermining of the global legal order and international relations.

JASTA effectively strips other countries of their sovereign immunity in the US, exposing them to private lawsuits in American courtrooms. As such, the passing of JASTA is a global issue that should be of concern to each and every country due to its fundamental erosion of the basic principles of international law.

The direct results of the bill are already becoming clear. The controversial legislation will undoubtedly put a burden on bilateral relations between states as well as on the international order.

Rather than relying on national security, foreign-policy and intelligence professionals to determine whether a state sponsors terrorism, JASTA effectively hands over this important responsibility to private litigants, juries consisting of American citizens and US courts who could mount cases with threadbare evidence or accusations.

We must ask ourselves whether we are willing to open up this Pandora’s Box at the risk of destabilising international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

This is not, as might be believed, an isolated view unique to Saudi Arabia. Broad support has emerged in favour of amending JASTA to address harmful “unforeseen consequences”. A multitude of voices in the international community, from the Arab League, the OIC, and other international organisations representing nearly 90 countries have spoken out against JASTA.

They warn against the erosion of sovereign immunity and decry the bill as potentially damaging mutual trust between states and adversely affecting all areas of international cooperation.

In October, the European Parliamentary Research Service published an analytical briefing underscoring several critical points concerning JASTA’s unforeseen consequences for EU member States.

With a view to restricting the scope of the bill and its far-reaching unintended consequences, the EU and its member states should consider taking diplomatic and parliamentary actions to persuade the standing Congress to amend or repeal the bill.

More specifically, the EU, which already expressed its reserve about the bill before its adoption, could urge the US Congress to restore the operative Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act provision that JASTA withdrew.

The timescale for the current Congress to make such change is tight, and without further authoritative calls for change, the bill continues to jeopardise the global legal order and international relations.

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


US anti-terror legislation risks eroding international sovereignty

  • November 30, 2016



KSA Mission Newsletter November 2016

This issue covers, amongst other things, the recent visit to Brussels of Dr Al-Rabeeah of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, our commitment to implementing the Paris Climate Agreement, the Saudi view on Iranian aggression and the controversial US JASTA bill, and our support of the UN’s World Food Program.




The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expresses its growing concern about Iran, its increasingly aggressive approach in the region and interference in the internal affairs of Arab states. These regrettable actions have, in turn, led to a climate of tension and instability in the Middle East.

The chaos and instability at hand in Yemen is the direct result of Iran’s blatant intrusion in internal Yemeni affairs. It seems that Tehran is aiming to undermine Yemen’s security and stability, stoke sectarian divisions and thwart international efforts seeking to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Yemeni crisis in accordance with the UN Security Council’s Decision 2216 (2015).

It is regrettable that the regime in Iran continues to support the Houthi rebels by providing them with arms, missiles (Iranian made Zelzal-3) and military expertise (IRGC-Hezbollah), all of which contribute to the worrying regional instability and protract the misery of the Yemeni people. The rebel attacks on Saudi Arabia’s borders and the firing of missiles on its cities could not have been carried out without the express support and encouragement of the Iranian regime whose actions have only emboldened the rebels who now threaten regional and international security.

On 27 October, the command of the coalition forces supporting the legitimate government in Yemen announced that a ballistic missile fired on Makkah had been  launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia. Fortunately, Saudi air defence was able to intercept the missile about 65 km from the holy city.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia therefore reaffirms its right to safeguard its sovereignty and security, and calls on the international community to assume its responsibility to condemn the conduct of the Iranian regime, and in particular its interference in its internal affairs.

  • November 9, 2016

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shares the international community’s challenges of climate change and its effects, and advocates for mutually beneficial resolutions to the issue. It is our sincere hope that the Conference of Parties, at its 22nd session (COP22), will sustain the momentum of last year’s COP 21 in Paris, where significant progress resulted in the first balanced universal climate agreement.

The COP 22 conference will focus on action items to achieve the balanced priorities of the Paris Agreement, especially in relation to adaptation, transparency, technology transfer, mitigation, capacity building, and loss and damages. We view the Paris Agreement as balanced and fair, and this will pave way to effective implementation in addressing our climate goals and sustainable development goals holistically.

It is encouraging to note that the Paris Agreement has achieved the threshold for entry into force, and Saudi Arabia is determined to see it implemented. In fact, we have managed to complete our ratification process of the Agreement before COP 22 in Marrakech and we are updating our environmental plan to ensure timely implementation.

Saudi Arabia hopes that as the “COP of Action,” COP 22 will produce an equitable outcome enabling sustainable economic and social development. Ever since the issue of climate change was brought to the world’s attention, the Kingdom has maintained a consistent view, calling for meaningful options that encompasses the concerns of developing nations under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

We continue to work towards our contributions as stipulated in our Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted prior to COP 21 last year.

Our INDC commits us to actions and plans for economic diversification that have co-benefits in the form of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission avoidances and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.

Saudi Arabia is instrumental in delivering the vital energy that enables global economic growth and prosperity, and we have a track-record of doing so in the most reliable and sustainable way, in part through technology-enabled solutions. We are dedicated to smarter solutions and better systems, dedicated to sustainable development and progress.

Last year, the global community agreed that climate change and sustainable development goals need to be mutually supportive and reinforcing for both sets of objectives to succeed. Therefore, we must chart a collective path of utilizing all energy sources to a sustainable energy landscape that includes energy efficiency, renewables and other complementary energy technologies.

 Saudi Arabia believes that the international response to climate change must fully respect the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC, particularly the principle of ”common but differentiated responsibility” which must be the cornerstone of progress. It enables all countries—especially developing nations—to proactively contribute workable plans and solutions for climate action that take account of national priorities, capacities and circumstances, in keeping with the different stages of economic development.

Saudi Arabia is confident that through dialogue and collaboration, the international community can achieve an effective, pragmatic and meaningful approach to tackle this global challenge. I have no doubt that our discussions in Marrakech will produce a positive outcome for all.

His Excellency Khalid Al-Falih

Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

  • November 4, 2016