Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

Egypt And Saudi Arabia…an Important Statement

On Thursday, an important statement was issued by Egypt and Saudi Arabia after the meeting of the follow-up and political consultation committee, which is headed by Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry.

Several important points were made in the statement. I will present them in details here and offer brief commentary given the significance of the stances that, unfortunately, did not receive the media coverage needed. Among the main issues addressed is the two countries’ stable position on the Palestinian cause and their position on Iran and Syria, as well as everything tied to the Egyptian- Saudi security framework, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan. Despite the latest statements about an Egyptian-Iranian rapprochement. The statement was made “in light of the central position both countries occupy in the Arab world and the region.”

Both sides stressed their “rejection of any attempts by regional powers to interfere in the domestic affairs of Arab countries or to threaten their stability and undermine the interests of their people, be it through tools of sectarian and ethnic incitement, terrorism and terrorist groups, or visions of expansion.”

The two sides also stressed “the need for Iran to fully respect its commitments to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which prevents it from acquiring nuclear weapons, and the global efforts to ensure the peacefulness of its nuclear program.” In addition, the countries pledged to “support Arab efforts to compel Iran to comply with international principles of non-interference in the Arab states’ affairs, adhere to the norms regarding neighboring countries, and allow the region avoid all of its destabilizing activities, including its support for armed militias and its threats to maritime navigation and global trade.”

And “the two sides condemned attempts to meddle with the security and safety of navigation in the Arab Gulf, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Red Sea.” They also emphasized “the importance of supporting Iraq so it once again can occupy its natural position as one of the pillars of stability in the Arab region,” as well as underlining their “rejection of all forms of external interference in Iraq’s affairs.”

With regard to Syria, the two parties agreed on “the need to support the preservation of Syria’s independence and territorial integrity, as well as combating terrorism, facilitating the return of refugees and displaced persons, and reaching a political solution to the current crisis in line with Security Council Resolution No. 2254.”

They also stressed “the need to move forward with the political process through Syrian-Syrian negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations envoy to Syria, allowing for the emergence of a framework for a political solution.” This refers to a political solution that does not legitimize Assad but offers political solutions to save Syria and the Syrian people.

This is a clear and precise statement. It answers several points that have been obscured by what I call “news-washing,” be it about relations with Iran, its spheres of influence, or even its occupation of the region, from Syria to Lebanon and from Iraq to Yemen. This is especially significant given that the Iranian minister of foreign affairs has claimed, from Beirut, that he hopes to continue negotiations with Saudi Arabia and restore relations, almost the tenth statement in less than six months. No one wants absolute enmity with Iran.

This does not mean that there ought to be negotiations that grant the Mullah regime the legitimacy it lost at home. Instead, we need negotiations on particular issues, which allow us to eliminate security risks, support stability, and growth, and bring an end to Iran’s interference in Arab affairs.

Thus, the Saudi-Egyptian statement is consequential. It serves as a reminder of the positions that Riyadh and Cairo have taken on pressing issues, and it indicates ongoing coordination that is required for the region and is crucial for its stability.