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De maandelijkse nieuwsbrief van de missie van Saoedi-Arabië bij de Europese Unie – april 2017

Lees de laatste uitgave van Saoedi-Arabië in Focus, de maandelijkse nieuwsbrief van de Saoedische missie bij de Europese Unie voor meer nieuws over de bijkomende financiële steun van het Koninkrijk voor haar broeders in Jemen ten bedrage van 138 miljoen euro, de laatste gedachtewisselingen tussen Rusland en Saoedi-Arabië over Syrië en de versterkte banden tussen Saoedi-Arabië en de VS in de strijd tegen terrorisme. Wij houden u eveneens op de hoogte van onze vooruitgang rond Vision 2030 en wij schetsen het profiel van twee Saoedische vrouwen, die door hun uitzonderlijke werk uitblinken in het veld van de natuurwetenschap en de kunstwereld.

Speaking in Paris on Monday 16 January 2017, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir expressed support for the efforts being made to advance the peace process in Syria. Mr Al-Jubeir met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on the sidelines of the Middle East Peace Conference that took place in the French capital over the weekend. At the conference it was announced that the EU will host a conference on Syria and the region in Brussels in Spring 2017 focussing on the political process towards a transition. The aims of the conference are to take stock of the state of play of UN talks in Geneva; humanitarian work and support for resilience and stabilisation, to assess progress in implementing commitments made at last year’s conference in London and to identify possible gaps and how to address them, and possible support to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation once a credible political transition is firmly underway.

Minister Al-Jubeir’s comments were also reflected in the UN Security Council meeting of 17 January, where the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi said the Kingdom would continue to participate in all international efforts towards achieving a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis. He expressed support for Council resolution 2336 (2016), which had called for a peaceful transition for Syria, as well as several General Assembly resolutions, including one which had called for the establishment of a mechanism to gather and document evidence and hold to account those responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity. He underlined that the oppression by the Syrian regime, with the support of the Russian Federation, Iran, Hezbollah and other community militias, must come to an end, and the people of Syria must be able to determine their own political future.

Russia, Iran and Turkey’s proposed talks in the Kazakh capital Astana next week aim to reach a cease-fire in Syria. Mr Al-Jubeir said that these talks were worth testing, but should not be construed as Riyadh abandoning moderate opposition groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad. “The objective is to arrive at a cease-fire and move on to the political process. Let us test it. So far it has not succeeded,” he said. “If it does, then we go down the political path, but that does not mean we abandon the moderate opposition.”

Ministers from the Middle East Quartet (United States, European Union, Russia, United Nations), the permanent members of the Security Council as well as Saudi Arabia and other Arab and European partners met in Paris on June 3, 2016 to reaffirm their support for a just, lasting and comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Participants reaffirmed that a negotiated two-state solution is the only way to achieve an enduring peace, with Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. They expressed alarm that actions on the ground, in particular continued acts of violence and ongoing settlement activity, are dangerously imperilling the prospects for this two-state solution.

The participants underscored that the status quo is not sustainable, and stressed the importance of both sides demonstrating, with policies and actions, a genuine commitment to the two-state solution in order to rebuild trust and create the conditions for fully ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and resolving all permanent status issues through direct negotiations in line with UN resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Speaking after the discussions, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said “The Arab peace initiative has all the elements for a final settlement,” and ought not be watered down to suit Israel. “It is on the table and a solid basis for resolving this long-standing dispute. It provides Israel with a lot of incentives and it’s incumbent on the Israelis to accept that.”

Ministers discussed possible ways in which the international community could help advance the prospects for peace, including by providing meaningful incentives to the parties to make peace. The participants also highlighted the potential for regional peace and security as envisioned by the Arab Peace Initiative. The participants highlighted the key role of the Quartet and key regional stakeholders. They welcomed the interested countries’ offer to contribute to this effort. They also welcomed France’s offer to coordinate it, and the prospect of convening before the end of the year an international conference.


A group photo with participants attending the conference meeting on the Middle East Peace Process. Photo: F. de La Mure/maedi

On Monday 30 May, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir met with the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini in Jeddah where they discussed matters of common interest, including economic affairs, the fight against terrorism and the regional challenges being faced in Syria, Yemen and Libya.

At a press conference following the meeting, the Foreign Minister said that Saudi Arabia and the EU enjoy strong ties in economic, political, educational and social spheres. In particular, High Representative Mogherini highlighted how Europe would contribute to Saudi Vision 2030 and underlined that the ambitious roadmap offers opportunities for bilateral cooperation between the kingdom and the European Union in various fields.

On the conflict in Syria, Minister Al-Jubeir thanked the EU countries for their support of Syrian refugees and for a political solution. Minister Al-Jubeir said that there is an international consensus that the solution includes an establishment of a transitional governing body that removes power from Bashar al-Assad in order to institute a new constitution and democratic elections. Ms Mogherini highlighted the importance of maintaining the cessation of hostilities on the ground, and of political negotiations being started alongside this. She noted that there had been no direct discussions thus far, and underlined the urgency of advancing the peace process.

The joint priority of deepening counter-­terrorism coordination and cooperating on the prevention of radicalisation was also expressed by both parties.

In addition, Federica Mogherini announced that a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministerial meeting would be held in Brussels in July, during which the negotiations for an EU­-GCC free trade negotiation would be addressed. Ms Mogherini noted that there is a willingness on both sides to reach an agreement and that there are only minor issues left to be resolved. She noted that EU would be “flexible to find ways of accommodating different views,” in closing a mutually beneficial deal.

Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir stressed that the talks, which took place today, with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and the GCC foreign ministers, showed identical views to a large extent on a number of issues of concern to the region’s security .

During a news conference after the joint ministerial meeting of foreign ministers of the GCC with the British Foreign Secretary, the minister said that Iran has isolated itself by launching ballistic missiles, and sent militias to several countries, including Syria and Iraq, stressing that what Iran is doing about interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries is rejected and it is punished today as a result of its support for terrorism as it smuggled weapons to Bahrain and Yemen.

He pointed out that Iran is smuggling weapons to Bahrain and Yemen, and is thus guilty of violating international laws, and that Iran should change its policy, and its presence in Iraq is unacceptable, and it should not interfere in the affairs of the region, especially the state of Iraq.

He confirmed that Iran refused to sign the agreement organizing the Hajj affairs for this year due to claiming benefits outside the framework of the organization, and this is unacceptable, he said, “The Iranians returned to sign the agreement and they had requests for visas to be granted to the Iranians through the Internet, and it was done, and they demanded to transfer their pilgrims by Iran’s national carrier, and they asked to have a representative, and the kingdom agreed on it, and this is evidence of the kingdom’s keenness to facilitate the needs of the pilgrims, and enable them to perform their rituals; however, they refused to sign the agreement organizing the affairs of the pilgrims.”

He pointed out that Iran’s goal was evasiveness and not enable its pilgrims to perform the rituals, and that’s too bad, stressing that the kingdom attaches great importance to the security of the pilgrims and Umrah performers, and does not prevent anyone from performing the Hajj or Umrah pointing out that the kingdom consults with more than 70 countries in order to coordinate and organize the affairs of Hajj and Umrah.

On the talks with the British Foreign Minister, the Minister Al-Jubeir said, “We discussed with the British Foreign Minister the peace process in the Middle East and the importance of reaching a just and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on international legitimacy resolutions, pointing out that positions with Britain are identical to a large extent with the positions of the kingdom and the Gulf Arab states, on the subject of Syria, in addition to discussion of how to apply the Geneva decisions “1” and the resolutions of the Security Council 2254 in Syria.

The Foreign Minister said that he discussed the issue of Iraq, which was agreed upon in 2014, and how to involve all groups and Iraqi communities, and dealing with the Iraqi government in the face of extremism and in particular “Daash,” and discussion of the latest developments in the case of Yemen and the talks in Kuwait.

He praised efforts made by the State of Kuwait in connection with the Yemeni talks and also was discussed the subject of the idea of rebuilding in Yemen which was adopted by the leaders of GCC member states last year and which Britain wants to be a partner with us in it.

The minister stressed the importance of supporting the government of Libyan Prime Minister Faez Seraj, and reconciliation among the Libyan parties and the restoration of Libya’s institutions, particularly the security ones to counter extremism and prevent the “Daash” from spreading in Libya.

Al-Jubeir said, “The relations with Iran and the importance of Iran’s commitment to the principle of good neighborliness and non-interference in the affairs of countries in the region were discussed” as well as the role that could be played by Britain in support of the GCC economic programs.

For his part, the British foreign minister expressed identical views with the Saudi and GCC side.

The British minister expressed his country’s readiness and willingness to contribute to the achievement of the kingdom vision 2030, which he described as daring and ambitious, in order to move the kingdom to a better future, drawing attention to the fact that bilateral relations with the kingdom exceeded 100 years.

Foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states held talks with visiting United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and the accompanying delegation.
At the outset of the meeting, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed that the GCC member countries and Britain share deep-rooted relations and that cooperation between the GCC and Britain is constructive in economic, security, military, educational and medical fields.
He said today’s meeting comes to enhance the historic ties binding the United Kingdom and GCC countries, particularly in the political, security, military , economic, scientific and educational fields, looking forward to a fruitful meeting to the best service of the peoples of the two countries.
For his part, the British foreign secretary lauded the historic relations which go deep for hundreds of years, expressing pride of the joint ventures implemented between the two sides and looking forward to see the distinguished partnership extend to face the challenges engulfing the region in all security, economic and political fields.