Saudis hope direct talks with Iran will boost confidence

Saudi King Salman speaks in a pre-recorded video during the United Nations General Assembly via a live broadcast in New York, United States on Wednesday, September 22, 2021.
Image Credit: Bloomberg

Abu Dhabi: King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Wednesday expressed hope that the kingdom’s direct talks with Iran will lead to the establishment of a climate of trust, paving the way for the fulfillment of the aspirations of the people of the region.

King Salman made the remarks in a pre-recorded speech to the leaders gathered for the United Nations General Assembly.

“Iran is a neighbor of Saudi Arabia, and the kingdom hopes that the talks between the two nations can lead to tangible results which pave the way for the realization of the aspirations of the people of the region,” the king said. Salman.

King Salman, however, warned that relations must be based on respect for national sovereignty and ending support for sectarian militias.

Saudi-Iranian relations hit a low when the Trump administration exerted maximum pressure on Iran. During these years, Iran has been accused of being behind several attacks on energy targets in the Arabian Gulf – including a strike on an Aramco refinery in 2019 – and of supporting fighters. Al Houthi in Yemen, where the kingdom has been at war for more than six years. years.

In April, it was learned that Saudi Arabia and Iran had held a first round of talks in Iraq after the election of President Joe Biden. Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal in 2018, while Biden said the United States wanted to return to the pact, although talks have stalled.

The two sides met again in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, according to the semi-official Iranian Mehr news agency.

King Salman reiterated Saudi concerns over Iran’s nuclear program, which Tehran says is for peaceful energy purposes.

King Salman added that the Yemen peace initiative, which Saudi Arabia introduced last March, can end the conflict, save blood and end the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people.

“Unfortunately, the Houthi terrorist militias still refuse peaceful solutions and rely on the military option to control more land in Yemen,” the king added.

King Salman said the Iranian-backed Houthi militias are using the suffering of the Yemeni people, their urgent need for humanitarian aid and the risks resulting from the deteriorating situation, as bargaining chips and blackmail, and are attacking daily civilian objects inside the UK, and threaten international shipping and international energy supplies.

“The Kingdom reserves the legitimate right to defend itself against attacks from ballistic missiles, drones and boat bombs, and categorically rejects any attempt to interfere in its internal affairs,” added King Salman.

King Salman said Saudi Arabia stresses the importance for the international community to stand firm against all those who support, sponsor, finance and harbor terrorist groups and sectarian militias or use them as a means to sow chaos and destruction. destruction and expand hegemony and influence.

“The foreign policy of the Kingdom attaches great importance to the consolidation of security and stability, to the support of dialogue and peaceful solutions, and to the creation of conditions conducive to the development and to the fulfillment of the aspirations of the peoples for a future. better, in the Middle East and in the world in general, ”added King Salman.

King Salman said the Kingdom supports efforts to find a binding peaceful solution to the Renaissance Dam problem in a way that preserves the water rights of Egypt and Sudan, and peaceful solutions under the United Nations auspices to the crises in Libya and Syria. , and all efforts to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan, as well as the aspirations of its people and the guarantee of their rights in all respects.

He highlighted Saudi Arabia’s long-standing position on the Palestinian state, saying that lasting peace must guarantee an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“We affirm that peace is the strategic option for the Middle East region, through a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question based on the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, in a way which guarantees the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, ”the king added.

Despite COVID-19, the Kingdom remains the main donor

King Salman acknowledged the ‘economic hardships’ but said despite such challenges, the kingdom remains a major donor of humanitarian aid and global efforts to fight COVID-19 as a Group of 20 countries .

The coronavirus pandemic caused oil prices to plummet last year, eating away at the kingdom’s main source of income. Saudi Arabia has led major oil producers in a pact to cut production to help support oil prices.

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