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Saudi FM Says 'Not Enough Progress' Made at Talks with Iran

Saudi FM Says 'Not Enough Progress' Made at Talks with Iran

Wednesday, 25 May, 2022 - 06:30
24 May 2022, Switzerland, Davos: Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Adbullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, attends the "Geopolitical Outlook" session at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. (World Economic Forum/dpa)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah revealed on Tuesday that "some" progress has been made in talks with Iran, but it was "not enough."


"Our hands are stretched out," he told a World Economic Forum panel on security in the Middle East.


Joining Prince Faisal on the panel were his counterparts from Kuwait, Ahmed Nasser Al Sabah, and Jordan, Ayman al-Safadi, and Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Masrour Barzani.


Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia, like its fellow members in the Gulf Cooperation Council, was seeking a future that is based on hope, development and cooperation in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030. This hope extends beyond its borders.


"Our hands are extended to Iran and we are trying to send a message that moving towards a new phase of cooperation in the region carries benefits for everyone," he stressed.


He added that this hinges on Tehran making up its mind about joining this path towards a prosperous future.


He revealed that all GCC countries hold talks with Iran and are coordinating closely.


On a nuclear deal with Tehran, the FM said it would "be potentially a good thing if it's a good deal" and reiterated Riyadh's stance that Tehran's regional activities should be addressed.


Lebanon

Turning to the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon, Prince Faisal said: "They were the voice of the Lebanese people. We have previously stated that Lebanon needed change."


"How this change is brought about is up to them," he added.


He noted that the elections were a "strong" sign, but that it was too soon to jump to conclusions.


The elections saw Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies lose their majority at parliament.


Change depends on the decisions the Lebanese politicians take. "Will they embark on real economic reform?" Prince Faisal asked. "Will political reform restore the authority of the state and the legitimacy of its institutions and fight corruption?"


"We hop so. We will support it if it happens," he pledged.


Jordan's FM Safadi added: "We will not allow the collapse of Lebanon. Everyone [in the region] will pay the price of that."


Syria

On Syria, he said the greatest danger his kingdom confronted in recent years was terrorism. Now, that threat is drug smuggling to Jordan and through it, to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.


The continuation of the current situation will deepen the crisis and with it, the suffering of the Syrian people and refugees, he warned.


Everyone agrees that the only solution in Syria is political, he added.


Safadi reiterated Amman's call to draft a mechanism that allows Arabs to play a collective role to resolve the crisis, by redefining it as a Syrian cause, not an open arena were international powers vie for interests.


Two-state solution

Asked if Saudi Arabia would consider normalizing relations with Israel, Prince Faisal replied that normalizing ties between the region and Israel carries many benefits for everyone, but "we will not be able to reap them without resolving the Palestinian cause."


He said the crisis is still at the root of instability in the region. Leaving it unresolved will embolden extremists and hardliners, he warned.


"Our priority today lies in pushing forward the peace process, which will help the Israelis, Palestinians and entire region."


Safadi, for his part, criticized the lack of political prospects to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


"This kills hope and empowers extremists everywhere," he warned, while stressing that the two-state solution was the only solution, which would see the formation of a sovereign Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.


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