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KSA Mission Newsletter February 2017

February’s issue looks into Saudi Arabia’s progress on counter-terrorism, its stance on Iran and a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, how the Kingdom is helping those in need in Yemen, as well as giving an update on the progress made in the Vision 2030 economic roadmap for the Kingdom.


The Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Dr Yusuf bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen met with Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, in Brussels on 15 February. High-Representative/Vice-President Mogherini emphasized the importance of a regular and constructive dialogue in view of a closer partnership to address together many issues of common interest.

The occasion represented first bilateral meeting since the Secretary General took office late last year. The meeting allowed for discussions on relations with the Muslim world and with Muslim communities in Europe. The High-Representative/Vice-President and the Secretary General exchanged views on possible areas of cooperation, building also on the fruitful exchanges, the previous day, at the first EU-OIC Senior Officials Meeting.  There was a common resolve to reach out to Muslim communities notably in Europe, as a way to increase Muslim youth participation and civic involvement in the political and social life in Europe and to counter radicalisation and terrorism.

During the two-day long visit Secretary General Othaimeen and his delegation had several other important engagements both at bilateral and multilateral level, including a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Belgium Didier Reynders. His discussion with Minister Reynders also touched upon the potential role of the OIC in promoting tolerance, peaceful coexistence, respect for minorities and diversity and on how to engage Muslim Communities in Europe in dealing with the threat of radicalism and extremism. In addition, Secretary General Othaimeen and Minister Reynders agreed to work on developing more structured cooperation framework between the OIC and Belgium

Link to video [!xk86tn]

  • February 20, 2017

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said that Iran was the “biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” He made the remarks in an address before the Munich Security Conference. Minister Al-Jubeir cited several covert, political and military actions carried out by Iran to buttress his argument.

He also outlined the Kingdom’s view of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the crises in Syria and Yemen and said Saudi Arabia was optimistic about working with the U.S. administration to resolve many of the crises in the region today.

“One of the biggest factors I think that will help to resolve many of these challenges is the new American administration,” said Minister Al-Jubeir. “We expect to see America engaged in the world. And we expect to see a realistic American foreign policy, and we look forward to working with this administration very, very closely.”

Minister Al-Jubeir said that Iran is a destabilizing force in the region and “remains the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.” He said, “The Iranians do not believe in the principle of good neighborliness or non-interference in the affairs of others. This is manifested in their interference in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan.”

The foreign minister noted that Iran was the only country in the region that has not been attacked by either Al-Qaeda or Daesh.

“We look at the region and we see terrorism and we see a state sponsor of terrorism that is determined to upend the order in the Middle East,” he said. “The Iranians are the only country in the region that has not been attacked by either Daesh or Al-Qaeda. And this begs the question why? If Daesh and Al-Qaeda are extremist Sunni organizations, you would think they would be attacking Iran, a Shiite state. But they have not. Could it be that there’s a deal between them that prevents them or causes them not to attack the Iranians? This is a question that we keep asking ourselves.”

Minister Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia is hopeful that Iran will change, but that Iran ultimately will be judged by its actions, not its words.

“When the Iranians send weapons in violation of UN Security Council resolutions to the Houthis in Yemen, that’s an action,” he said.  “When the Iranians send Shiite militias to fight in support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, that’s action. When the Iranians plant terror cells in Bahrain and in Saudi Arabia and in other places, that’s action. The action is more important than the words”.


  • February 20, 2017


In a statement issued today, the Saudi-led Arab Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen restated its commitment to protecting civilians in Yemen and underscored the steps the alliance has taken to avoid causalities in an ongoing war zone. Among those steps, the Coalition has launched an independent assessment team, fostered active partnerships with relief organizations and focused on safeguarding Yemen’s urban centers as part of a concerted effort to protect civilians and uphold international humanitarian law.


The Coalition’s Joint Incidents Assessment Team (JIAT) is composed of military members, weapons experts and legal specialists in humanitarian rights. The independent group reviews reports of Coalition activities that are known to have led to civilian casualties, and offers recommendations for ways to avoid future incidents.


Among the instituted mechanisms, the Coalition said that it has adopted—and has been following—the policy to issue repeated warnings to Houthi militias and Ali Abdullah Saleh forces so that they can evacuate cities prior to a Coalition air strike. The Coalition also has heightened its emphasis on safeguarding critical infrastructure and, as a result, civilian lives in Yemen’s urban centers.


The Coalition said that it works alongside United Nations agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross as part of a collaborative approach to minimize the possibility of harm to civilians, medical personnel, journalists and relief organizations.


The Coalition cited an August 2016 United Nations report that accused Houthi militias and coup forces of consistently violating the Geneva Convention by using civilians as human shields. Moreover, the Coalition stated that rebel forces use child soldiers and use revenge killings and illegal detentions to terrorize Yemen’s population.

  • February 15, 2017


•         L’Arabie saoudite continue de lutter contre le terrorisme et l’extrémisme à sa source.

•         L’Arabie saoudite condamne sous toutes ses formes le terrorisme, ses partisans et ceux qui le justifient.

•         Le Royaume combat depuis des années la radicalisation, l’extrémisme et le terrorisme.

•         L’Arabie saoudite continue de lutter contre le financement du terrorisme.

•         L’Arabie saoudite continuera de travailler en étroite collaboration avec ses partenaires internationaux pour éradiquer l’extrémisme.


BRUXELLES – le 10 février, 2017 – Il existe aujourd’hui, à propos de l’Arabie saoudite, un certain nombre de préjugés qui ne reflètent pas la réalité de ce pays. Les faits démontrent qu’en aucun cas le Royaume ne finance ni ne soutient aucune institution radicale en Belgique ou dans tout autre pays. En Belgique, en Arabie saoudite et à travers le monde, le Royaume est pionnier en matière de déradicalisation, abordant le problème du terrorisme à sa racine – un fait qui reste trop peu connu.

L’Arabie saoudite est elle-même touchée par de nombreux attentats au même titre que l’Europe – attentats qui cherchent à déstabiliser le pays et à terroriser les citoyens. C’est la raison pour laquelle le Royaume a entrepris un certain nombre d’initiatives et de mesures pour combattre le terrorisme sur tous les terrains. A titre d’exemple, l’Arabie saoudite joue un rôle clef dans la coalition internationale qui combat les groupes terroristes. Elle applique par ailleurs un système de contrôle financier très strict, conformément aux principes internationaux établis par le Groupe d’action financière (GAFI), dont les recommandations sont reconnues comme étant la norme internationale en matière de lutte contre le blanchiment de capitaux et contre le financement du terrorisme. Dans le même temps, le Royaume a mené une campagne rigoureuse pour contrôler la collecte de fonds dans les mosquées et dans les lieux publics. Il a aussi interdit les transferts internationaux d’argent des organismes de bienfaisance saoudiens pour s’assurer que les fonds ne peuvent être utilisés par des extrémistes.

Sur la scène internationale, l’Arabie saoudite travaille avec ses partenaires, y compris avec les autorités belges et européennes, pour lutter contre le terrorisme, son financement et les idéologies extrémistes à sa source. Avec l’Autriche et l’Espagne, l’Arabie saoudite est un membre fondateur du Centre KAICIID, une organisation intergouvernementale qui promeut activement le dialogue entre les peuples de différentes religions et cultures pour lutter contre les peurs et encourager le respect mutuel. Le Centre a joué un rôle central dans la création du Centre des Nations Unies pour la lutte contre le terrorisme (UNCCT), pour lequel il a contribué à hauteur de 110 millions de dollars.

Malgré les rumeurs et les récupérations politiques, et à l’issue d’une enquête menée l’année dernière, le gouvernement belge a constaté qu’aucun propos extrémiste n’était tenu à la Grande Mosquée de Bruxelles. Cette constatation a été confirmée par les ministres belges de l’Intérieur et de la Justice, Messieurs Jan Jambon et Koen Geens, ainsi que par les services de sécurité belges, qui ont également noté que la mosquée et son financement étaient régulièrement contrôlés et vérifiés sans qu’aucune anomalie n’ait été détectée.

C’est grâce à ce types de coopération que l’Europe et les États-Unis ont profité de l’expérience de l’Arabie saoudite dans la lutte contre le terrorisme – et peuvent continuer à en tirer parti. Il y a, par exemple, matière à s’inspirer du travail du Mohammed bin Naif Counselling and Care Centre, qui œuvre à déradicaliser et réhabiliter les extrémistes, ainsi que de l’Assakina Campaign for Dialogue, qui s’emploie à corriger les mauvaises interprétations violentes des doctrines islamiques et qui promeut la modération contre l’excès. Le Royaume d’Arabie Saoudite continuera de travailler en étroite collaboration avec ses alliés, y compris la Belgique, pour aider à identifier et à éradiquer l’extrémisme, à empêcher le recrutement terroriste et à prévenir d’autres attaques terroristes. Nous ne pouvons répondre aux attaques et aux critiques qui nous sont adressées qu’avec un discours de vérité – ainsi nous espérons être entendus à l’aune des faits et seulement des faits.

  • February 11, 2017

Press release 1:2 press release 2:2

Saudi Arabia continues to fight terrorism and the extremism at its source

  • Saudi Arabia condemns terrorism in all its forms, its supporters and those who justify it.
  • The Kingdom has a track record on countering radicalisation, extremism and terrorism.
  • Saudi Arabia continues to clamp down on the funding of terrorism and its misguided ideology.
  • Saudi Arabia will continue to work closely with its international partners to eradicate extremism.

BRUSSELS 11.02.2017 There is a deeply embedded misconception about Saudi Arabia that does not reflect the reality on the ground. Saudi Arabia does not fund or support any radical institution in Belgium or any other country. The Kingdom is a pioneer in addressing the problem of radicalisation and terrorism at its root; a fact that all too often goes unacknowledged. Saudi Arabia has consistently made its position clear: the Kingdom condemns terrorism in all its forms.

These are not empty words. Saudi Arabia has too often fallen victim to the same kind of attacks that have afflicted Europe in recent years, attacks that seek to destabilize our countries and terrorize our citizens. In response, the Saudi leadership has long been at the frontline of fighting terrorism, and has taken a series of concrete actions to counter this very real threat. This fight takes place on numerous different fronts, both within its borders and beyond: from its leading role within the international coalition to combat terrorist groups to the rigorous implementation of stringent financial controls advocated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering and terrorist financing; from cracking down on fundraising at mosques and public places to outlawing international money transfers from Saudi charities to ensure funds cannot enter the hands of extremists.

On the international stage, Saudi Arabia works together with its partners, including the Belgian and European authorities, to combat terrorism, its funding and the extremist ideologies at its source. The Kingdom actively seeks to encourage dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures in order to promote harmony between them. By way of example, the KAICIID Centre for Dialogue in Vienna is an intergovernmental centre of exchange which was set up by Saudi Arabia to promote justice, peace and reconciliation, and counteract the misuse of religion to justify violence. Furthermore, the centre played a pivotal role in founding the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre with a contribution of USD 110 million that has strengthened the activities of Member States in confronting the extremist ideology that feeds terrorism.

Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam – a religion of peace. We see it as our duty to stop our faith from being so gruesomely distorted by a deeply misguided extremist minority, and to protect ourselves from their depraved actions. Despite much rumour and ugly political rhetoric, the Belgian Government itself found that there was not a trace of extremism to be found at the Great Mosque of Brussels when it conducted its investigation last year. This was recognised by Belgian Ministers of the Interior and Justice Messrs.  Jan Jambon and Koen Geens who confirmed that the Great Mosque of Brussels neither preaches nor encourages any form of radicalism according to Belgian state security services, and noted that the mosque and its financing are also regularly vetted. Try to find a single Saudi-funded Islamic centre preaching hate and you will fail. The Kingdom itself has always dismissed any imam from its mosques for intolerance. We will do everything in our power to stamp out extremist rhetoric wherever we have influence, and we urge authorities in Belgium to do the same.

It is through cooperation that European countries can benefit from the Saudi experiences of fighting extremism and radical thought. There are, for instance, a wealth expertise to be gained from the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counselling and Care Centre which rehabilitates extremists and the Assakina Campaign for Dialogue, which works to correct misinterpretation of Islamic doctrines about violence, reject excess and promote moderation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will continue to work closely with its allies, including here in Belgium, to help identify and eradicate extremism, nip jihadist recruitment in the bud and prevent further terrorist attacks. We can respond to the charges levelled against us only with the truth and hope that we will be given a fair hearing.


  • February 11, 2017


Salam (meaning peace in Arabic) is a new Saudi initiative that aims to promote mutual understanding between Saudi people and the rest of the world by opening communication channels on all aspects of cultural life.

The Salam Project is an attempt to face the many issues that have stopped the flow of communication and understanding between Saudi Arabia and the world beyond. It is an honest and safe forum for open discussion and positive exchange both for Saudis and non-Saudis alike. Salam aims to help us appreciate what we have in common and talk about some of those more awkward issues that have been ignored or avoided due to a lack of understanding and a reluctance to communicate. This in turn has tended to created unnecessary barriers between both sides. By opening these communication channels and fostering exchange and understanding, Salam hopes to turn such negatives into something positive.

Although still in its early stages, the project has tackled subjects ranging from Saudi history, cuisine, art and festivals such as Al Janadriyah, to education, countering extremism, women in society and human rights law.

You can learn more about the Salam project in the video below or visit You can even follow the project on its social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.



KSA Mission Newsletter January 2017

The first issue of 2017 looks into Saudi Arabia’s strong record on counter-terrorism, the Kingdom’s provision of humanitarian aid and relief to Syrians in need and foreign policy priorities, as well as giving an update on the progress made in the Vision 2030 economic roadmap for the Kingdom. The issue examines how the Riyadh metro project is set to reshape the Saudi capital, and profiles the women making their mark in a new role in the Kingdom’s airports.