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Jubeir: Our Leadership is a 'Red Line'

Jubeir: Our Leadership is a 'Red Line'

Saturday, 9 February, 2019 - 07:15
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a gathering of foreign ministers aligned toward the defeat of ISIS at the State Department in Washington, US, February 6, 2019 (Reuters)

The killing case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October did not affect Saudi Arabia's foreign relations with the international community and did not limit foreign economic investments in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

The Saudi minister asserted that the Kingdom’s judiciary will hold those involved in the killing of Khashoggi accountable, reiterating that the Saudi leadership is a “red line”.

Jubeir, who is heading the Saudi delegation at the Ministerial Meeting of the Member States of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the Kingdom's delegation to the Ministerial Meeting of the Small Group on Syria, reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combat terror in any forms in a speech.

Asked about Washington's withdrawal from Syria, Jubeir noted that the US had 2,000 troops in a small area in Syria, adding that the pullout doesn’t mean US efforts to combat ISIS would decline.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Saudi embassy in Washington, the Minister denied any intention to reopen the Saudi embassy in Syria, saying: “reintegration of Syria has to be part of the political process that unfolds.”

Regarding the Turkish-US discussions on the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria and whether Saudi Arabia will provide military or financial assistance, Jubeir said the Kingdom provided a lot of humanitarian aid and provided $100 million to build hospitals and schools, asserting that military support is not on the table.

Jubeir stressed that discussions are underway on the establishment of the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA) and uniting GCC countries with Jordan, Egypt and the United States in an alliance aimed at protecting the region and strengthening defense systems.

"My country's government will continue its fight against terrorism and its sponsoring countries, and pledges to support all international and regional efforts to eliminate terrorist organizations and the activities of destabilizing states in the region."

Asked about the dispute with Qatar, the Minister stressed that the solution with Qatar will be within the internal framework between these countries and will not be from abroad. He stressed that Qatar should stop supporting and financing terrorism and interfering in states’ affairs.

The press also inquired about the case of journalist Khashoggi. Jubeir explained that the case is handled by the judiciary, where the first session of the trial of 11 people was held at the beginning of this year, adding that the second trial was open to the public and humanitarian organizations.

Jubeir said it was pointless to comment on some reports published in US media in which anonymous sources were quoted.

“I can’t comment on reports based on anonymous sources. We have seen in the past that many so-called reports based on intelligence sources have not panned out.”

The Minister reiterated that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and the Saudi leadership are a “red line”, and that dictation from any country “will not be allowed in our actions.”

He declined to comment on Congressional discussions on Khashoggi's death, urging Congress to wait for the investigation and the trial to be over in Saudi Arabia, instead of “putting the cart before the horse”.

During his visit to Washington, Jubeir met with many members of Congress where they discussed the situation in Yemen, Iran’s destabilizing activities, the security situation in the African-Sahel region and ongoing discussions to achieve a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan.

Regarding the situation in Yemen and the prospects for a military operation in Hodeidah, Jubeir reiterated his country’s support for UN envoy Martin Griffiths and the implementation of what has been agreed in the Stockholm agreement.

He also announced that Saudi Arabia has a $10-billion plan for the reconstruction of Yemen and calls on the international community to contribute to the reconstruction efforts.

“The current discussions revolve around the timing and details of the withdrawal [from Hodeidah] and the situation in Yemen is still very complex.”

On the US-backed Afghan peace process between the Taliban and the government of President Ashraf Ghani, Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE support the process and sponsored the meetings between the United States and the Taliban in Abu Dhabi.

He expressed optimism about the talks led by US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, noting that direct communications between the US and Taliban have opened the door to new possibilities.

The Minister stressed that the Kingdom has strategic relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan and supports its allies until stability is achieved.

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