Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan expressed his country’s concern over Iran’s acquiring a nuclear weapon, warning of the danger this could pose to the regional and international security.
The top Saudi diplomat said on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York: “We are concerned about the Iranian nuclear program. We are clear that Iran (acquiring) a nuclear weapon is a very dangerous matter. It is dangerous not only for security in the region, but also for the structure of international security.”
He continued: “We hear from the Iranians that their nuclear program is for civilian purposes. We hope this is true. And if that is the case, then I don’t understand the lack of transparency... We also have a nuclear program, we adhere to the highest standards of transparency, and we are working with our international partners to build the program so that everyone is fully aware of it...”
“So we hope that the Iranians will take the path of transparency to reassure everyone. And if they don’t, it will raise many questions about their intentions.”
Iran and the Houthis
The Saudi foreign minister was addressing New York’s MENA Forum, hosted by the Middle East Institute and Think Research and Advisory, on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly on Friday.
He pointed to Iran’s continuous supply of drones to the Houthi militias in Yemen, saying that Saudi Arabia had managed to deter about 94 percent of the drone attacks against it.
Regarding the nationwide truce in Yemen, Prince Faisal said: “We see signs that the Houthis are not likely to accept the extension of the truce, and this would be a very unfortunate development because the truce has already achieved results for the Yemeni people.”
The truce went into effect in April and has since been renewed twice. It is set to expire on October 2.
The foreign minister said the Kingdom “encourages Saudi companies to invest in Iraq,” stressing that promoting economic stability in the country would “limit the influence of players who do not care about the interests of the Iraqi people, but only about their political and ideological agendas.”
“We know that the situation there is currently difficult, but there are voices calling for change in the interest of the country and its economy. Iraq has a lot of capacities,” he emphasized.
Israel and Palestine
On relations with Israel, Prince Faisal affirmed that the Kingdom “is interested in peace,” but the only way for a stable region was to resolve the Palestinian crisis, which he said will only happen through the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“Negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians need to move in this direction,” he stated, stressing Saudi support for efforts in this context.
He added: “Any additional steps will not be sustainable. We need sustainable peace, and the only way to achieve that is through a solution.”
Russia and Ukraine
Commenting on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the Saudi FM said ending the conflict must go through negotiations.
Prince Faisal stressed that the Kingdom had expressed its willingness to mediate between the two sides since the beginning of the crisis.
In this regard, he noted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman worked to facilitate a prisoner release, saying: “I am happy to announce that they are on their way to their country after arriving in the Kingdom two days ago.”
In addition, Prince Faisal stated that China was the largest trading partner of the Kingdom and the United States, adding: “We all have an interest in working with China, as it is the second largest economy in the world. So it is important that we have an ongoing dialogue.”
The minister pointed to an increasing trend towards the politics of marginalization, stressing that many countries around the world felt that they were not represented fairly, and that their interests were not being taken care of.
He said: “This is very dangerous, and if marginalization increases, we fear that the global economy and the international security structure will be shaken.”
“We, in the Kingdom, have decided to focus on a path to sustainable development and prosperity for our people. We don’t want politics to distract us. We want to talk about investment, cooperation and progress, and we hope our international partners will focus on that as well.”