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It was on 19 November 2016 that the command of the Saudi-led Arab alliance in Yemen gave its support to a 48-hour UN-backed ceasefire. The hope was that this respite from the bloodshed would allow for the delivery of sorely needed humanitarian aid across the country. It was also very clear that cessation of hostilities could be extended if the Iran-allied Houthi militia abided by the terms of truce. Importantly, this included allowing the entry of aid to the besieged areas of the war-torn country, particularly Taiz City, Yemen’s third largest city. What was formally the country’s vibrant cultural capital is now almost completely surrounded by the Houthis and their allies. The suffering of the city’s inhabitants is immeasurable.

Ultimately, the aim of the ceasefire was to bring about a permanent and lasting end to the conflict through the reopening of diplomatic channels. Alas, the Pacification Committee of the Yemeni army recorded in excess of 70 breaches of the truce by Houthi forces  its allies in Taiz province, only moments after the ceasefire came into effect. These infringements included shelling with heavy and medium weapons and sniping that wounded two civilians. Militia fired artillery and mortar shells at people’s homes in Al-Salow District and bombed the Al-Tabadud Valley area. Mortar rounds and rockets rained down indiscriminately across the different areas of Taiz City. In total, the ceasefire was broken 563 times in Yemen and 163 times on the Saudi border, a coalition official confirmed.

Beyond the flagrant contravention of the ceasefire terms, Houthi forces have frequently launched missiles into Saudi Arabian territory. On one occasion, the Houthis even went as far as to target the Holy City of Makkah, the holiest site of the Muslim world. When such atrocities are regularly attempted by the Houthis, there can be no foundation of trust on which to base a ceasefire. Saudi Arabia necessarily reserves the right to act with the utmost caution in brokering such ceasefires with the Houthis, bearing in mind that the protection of our own citizens must be our priority.

In a latest development, Houthis and General People’s Congress have unilaterally announced the formation of a new government that had legitimacy or support from the internationally recognised Yemeni government. These actions have been condemned by the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh, who said, the move “represents a new and concerning obstacle to the peace process and does not serve the interests of the people of Yemen in these difficult times.” Equally, the Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher said that Houthis and their allies are “certainly aware that they are undermining U.N. peace efforts when announcing a new government.”

We join Mr Ould Cheikh in his plea to the Houthis and the General People’s Congress to “re-think their approach & demonstrate their commitment to the peace process with concrete actions,” rather than illegitimate and damaging posturing. To end the conflict there must be a withdrawal from occupied cities, and a handing over arms to make way for a much-needed political process and reconstruction of the country.

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




Saudi Arabia in Focus September 2016

This issue covers the celebrations of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 86th national day, the successful Saudi delegation led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 in Hangzhou, China, the recent speech of Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at Chatham House, London and the tireless work of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre in Yemen.

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Focus Arabie saoudite septembre 2016

Speaking on the occasion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 86th national day, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said, “It is an anniversary in which everybody recalls the pioneering role of the late founder of this great entity in which we witness the fruit of his blessed efforts in present reality in security, stability, and development of a homeland which occupies the centre of this world and affects its security and stability by virtue of its strategic location, spiritual weight and economic status, which enabled it to be one of the strongest economies in the world, a member of the Group of twenty with its strong influence in the world economy, determining its tracks and contributing to the solution of its problems.”

Looking towards a bright future, the Deputy Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic roadmap “ushered in a new stage of development and hard work,” which would facilitate “the continuation of proceeding along with the developed countries and the achievement of the desired growth, while adhering to the fundamentals of our tolerant religion and noble values.”

He also addressed the scourge of terrorism, which threatens the security of the Kingdom, noting that Saudi “security agencies are working with the support, care and directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to maintain what has been achieved of unique security and stability compared to any other country in the world. Saudi security services have successfully managed to achieve remarkable success domestically and internationally in confronting the phenomenon of terrorism that has swept the world and thus, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has presented a Saudi security experience which has been appreciated and admired by everyone and has become a source of benefit for many countries in fighting terrorism and drying up its intellectual and financial sources.”

In Brussels, Ambassador Abdulrahman S. Alahmed, Head of the Mission to the European Union and Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg welcomed revered guests to celebrate the anniversary of the nation’s foundation. A short video on the event in Arabic can be viewed below.

  • September 26, 2016

Saudi National Day Known locally as Al-Yaom-ul-Watany, it marks 23 September 1932, when King Abdulaziz announced the unification of the country as a kingdom.

Emirates Airline and Real Madrid C.F partnered to send a special video message today to congratulate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its 86th National Day.

Eleven members of the club, including  Cristiano Ronaldo,  Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos conveyed their own personalised messages expressing their best wishes on the occasion of National Day to the people of Saudi Arabia.

  • September 22, 2016

HHRSaudi Arabia has confirmed its plans to launch seven high-speed trains as early as next year. The infrastructure project will connect the Kingdom’s holy sites that welcome millions of pilgrims each year.

Seven trains are set to operate between the cities Makkah and Jeddah every hour, while two trains will operate between the cities housing the two Holy Mosques, Makkah and Madinah.

The 480km project will link the kingdom’s holy sites to other cities to facilitate travel for pilgrims and visitors, and is expected to have a lifespan of over 120 years. The project will also link up the holy sites to other cities in order to facilitate travel opportunities for pilgrims and visitors.

The first phase, the Madinah to Jeddah stretch, is close to completion and is expected to be ready by the end of 2016. The remainder of the project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2017.

  • September 8, 2016


On 25 August 2016, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia hosted a series of constructive discussions about the situation in Yemen, including a meeting between the GCC foreign ministers, US Secretary of State John Kerry, UK Minister for the Middle East and Africa Tobias Ellwood and the UN’s Special Envoy for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The participants developed a framework for a peaceful solution in Yemen based on the GCC Initiative, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and UN Resolution 2216. The participating parties offered full support for this roadmap, which would end the war in Yemen and transform the country from war and destruction to reconstruction and stability. The UN special envoy is charged with discussing this framework with the Yemeni parties.


The plan as it stands calls for the following measures to be taken: the swift formation of a new national unity government with power shared among the parties; the withdrawal of forces from Sana’a and other key areas; the transfer of all heavy weapons, including ballistic missiles and launchers, from the Houthis and forces allied with them, to a third party and for the new unity government to respect the security, the integrity, and the sanctity of international borders, prohibiting the deployment of weapons from Yemeni territory that threatened international waterways or the security of Yemen’s neighbours.


At a press conference following the meeting, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir explained the rationale behind the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. “We have responded out of necessity. We responded to remove a threat. We responded to protect the legitimate government. We responded under authority of UN resolution. That’s what we did in order to protect Yemen and in order to protect ourselves and our borders.” He underlined that Saudi Arabia has no interest in extending its borders and has no claims on Yemen: “We want a stable, prosperous, secure, peaceful Yemen.”


US Secretary of State John Kerry reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and reiterated Riyadh’s right to defend against infractions of its border. “We were deeply troubled by the attacks on Saudi territory. We were deeply troubled by the photographs […] showing missiles that had come from Iran that were being positioned on the Saudi border. And we are deeply concerned about missile attacks that have taken place on border towns.” Secretary Kerry explained that Saudi Arabia must be allowed to defend itself against breaches of international law “The threat additionally posed by the shipment of missiles and other sophisticated weapons into Yemen from Iran extends well beyond Yemen. It is not a threat just to Saudi Arabia; it is a threat to the region, it is a threat to the United States, and it cannot continue.”


This respect for international law and the significance of international border is at the heart of the plan for a political solution to the conflict. “The agreement would require the new unity government [of Yemen] to respect the security, the integrity, and the sanctity of international borders, and it would prohibit the deployment of weapons from Yemeni territory that threatened international waterways or the security of Yemen’s neighbors,” Secretary Kerry stated.


Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir insisted that Saudi-led forces were doing everything within their power to avoid civilian casualities: “Where there have been reports of such casualties, we have a mechanism to investigate. We review our operations; we review our procedures in order to ensure that civilian casualties are minimized. That’s what the international community and law requires, and that’s what we go by. We have no interest in creating animosity with the Yemeni people.”


Both Mr Al-Jubeir and Secretary Kerry agreed on the need to bring the war to an end in a way that protects the rights and the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region and does not require a compromise on any country’s security.


  • September 2, 2016

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Saudi Arabia in Focus August 2016

This issue covers the fruitful discussions on Yemen between Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jeddah as well as preparations for the Saudi delegation to the upcoming G20 summit in Hangzhou China, which will be chaired by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


The 25th session of the Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting of the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took place yesterday evening in Brussels. Following the fruitful exchange between the ministers, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Adel Al-Jubeir and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini expressed “a firm determination to expand and strengthen bilateral political, economic, cultural and social cooperation and relations” between the two blocs at a joint press conference.

In a statement published by the EU-GCC co-chairs, both parties agreed that cooperation serves as ”a solid and effective foundation for sustainable regional and international stability and security,” and pledged to “further enhance their political dialogue and cooperation.”

On the conflict in Yemen, all parties welcomed the resumption of the UN-mediated Yemen peace talks in Kuwait on 16 July and reiterated their support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen in facilitating a comprehensive and lasting settlement between Yemeni parties to restore peace and resume the transition in Yemen.

Federica Mogherini stressed the need “to work together to help the parties find common ground. There one area where convergence was complete between us and among the respective parties. We agreed there is only a political solution to the conflicts in Yemen and we’re trying to join forces to facilitate this process.” Mirroring these sentiments, Mr, Al-Jubeir added that “a political settlement in Yemen has to be based on three basic principles: the GCC initiative, the outcome of the Yemeni national dialogue and the UN Security Council resolution 2216.”

Al-Jubeir, speaking as the head of the rotating GCC presidency, said Saudi Arabia and its partners are working “to encourage the parties [in Yemen] to sign agreements and implement measures so that we can move Yemen from a state of war to a state of development, reconstruction and prosperity.”

During the meeting, ministers also reaffirmed their determination to counter terrorism and terrorism financing, and to defeat Da’esh and other terrorist organizations. They stressed the need to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis. They called for immediate country-wide humanitarian access allowing the delivery of aid to all besieged areas, emphasizing the importance of full and strict adherence to the cessation of hostilities arrangements.

EU and GCC Ministers also reviewed progress in the EU-GCC strategic relationship and “expressed their willingness to address together common political, social, economic, and security challenges, as well as macroeconomic stability and support for diversification strategies,” such as Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan, Vision 2030, noting that two-way trade between the blocs represented more than €155 billion in 2015, an increase of 55% since 2010.