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An emergency meeting of Arab League ministers called to discuss the confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran concluded today in Cairo with a statement condemning Tehran for the attacks last week at diplomatic facilities that resulted in a breakdown of Saudi-Iranian relations. This “For the Record” post provides a report from the Saudi Press Agency on remarks from Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir at the conclusion of the emergency ministerial council session. [Check the SUSRIS Special Section “Saudi v. Iran – 2016″ for more on this important topic.]
Al-Jubeir, UAE FM, AL’s SG hold joint press conference following the Arab League FMs meeting
Cairo, Rabi’I 30, 1437, January 10, 2016, SPA — Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir vowed here today that his country will take additional steps once Iran went ahead with its hostilities and violations against the Kingdom, citing that the attacks on its diplomatic mission in Iranian cities of Tehran and Mash-had were the result of systematic hostile statements and provocative policies adopted by Iran against the Kingdom as well as continual interference in internal affairs of the Kingdom, notably its objection to judicial rulings on a Saudi national.
This came in a joint press conference by Al-Jubeir, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zaid Al Nahyan and the Arab League Secretary General Dr. Nabil Al-Araby following the Arab foreign ministers extraordinary meeting in Cairo today to discuss the Iranian attacks on Saudi diplomatic mission in Iranian cities of Tehran ad Mash-had as well as its interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries over decades.
Speaking to reporters, Al-Jubeir pointed to the steps taken by the Saudi diplomacy at the United Nations Security Council and the Arab League levels as well as its request that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation holds an extraordinary meeting to discuss the Iranian attacks and interference in domestic affairs of the Kingdom, noting that Iran’s message offering an apology at the Security Council has contained a number of fallacies.
He denied the existence of any Arab mediation to defuse the current tension, noting that some other countries have offered to do so, and confirming the importance of Iran’s showing seriousness rather than rhetoric.
He extended thanks to Arab foreign ministers for their solidarity with the Kingdom, describing the Arab position revealed in the council’s ministerial decisions as equivocally and strongly rejecting the Iranian interference in the internal affairs of Arab countries or its support for terrorism and sectarianism in the Arab world.
He considered today’s Arab Foreign ministers decision, the Security Council’s most recent statement on Iranian acts and the GCC foreign ministers statement at a recently-concluded meeting in Riyadh as clear collective message to Iran that the Arab countries would never accept its negative actions in the region.
Al-Jubeir drew the attention to the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reached the point of severing its ties with Iran, not only because of the recent attacks on its diplomatic mission in Iran, but also as a culmination of a three-decade experience which witnessed recurring negative acts of support for sectarianism, recruitment of Arab nationals to act against their countries, and training and sending militias to carry violent actions in Arab countries.
He called on Iran to deal with its neighbors in accordance with the principles of good neighborhood, non-interference in others’ internal affairs and rejection of terrorism rather than supporting it.
He advised Iran to choose between peaceful co-existence with its neighbors according to the above-mentioned principles or becoming a hostile and pro-terror neighbor, a situation that, he vowed, would be objected by Arab countries.
He said that we don’t want to trigger a sectarian struggle in the region, noting that Iran is interfering in Arab countries affairs under the pretext of protecting the Shiite sect, a move that staged a wedge between those Shiites and their Arab countries of origin.
Citing the case of Saudi Arabia, Al-Jubeir said his country never recruited any activist against Iran or sent militias to stage subversion in Iran in a reciprocal manner. He said this is based on the notion that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not at odds with the Iranian people at all, citing that Iranians themselves reject the policies of their government which would further isolate them from the world community.
He confirmed the support of the Kingdom for the Syrian opposition and the international efforts being exerted regardless of the differences with Iran which interferes in the struggle through supporting the Syrian regime whose moves led to the killing of 250,000 Syrians and displacing 12 million others.
For his part, Al Nahyan said Arab countries are not planning to enter into struggle or confrontation with Iran or stage a war against it but ‘what we want is to promote development for our peoples, countries and region’, he said.
He added that the meeting expressed strong support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as regards the respect of its sovereignty, non-interference in its domestic decision, non-hostility against its diplomatic missions and as regards the support for the recent political decisions it has taken against whoever dares to destabilize the situation of any of our countries.
Asked whether the Iranian apology is acceptable to the Arab countries and to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in particular, Al Nahyan said it could be acceptable in natural circumstances and from countries who could reflect their decisions into deeds and not from a country which has not yet decided whether it is still a revolution or a state.
He went on to say that Iran is eventually our neighbor but its identity as a good neighbor or otherwise is not yet determined by Tehran itself as we, regrettably, notice some kind of absurdity in Iran’s behavior, he said. He cited that Iran has shown interest and exerted strenuous effort to reconcile with the west and not with its surroundings. Had Iran exerted the same effort it exerted to lift western sanctions or end its differences with the 5+1 on the nuclear file, its disputes with the regional forces and neighbors would have been settled, he stated.
He regrets that Iran might not be as serious as we require, thus, uttering words rather than showing deeds and produces negative acts rather than positive ones.
He described the maneuvers conducted by some countries to contain the current situation between Iran and Arab countries as contacts rather than mediation as Iran has not positively responded to them, he said.
For his part, Dr. Al-Araby said that the Arab foreign ministers decisions confirm the strong concern of the Arab countries towards the interference of neighboring countries in their internal affairs.
He said the decision reflects the full Arab support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, noting that he was assigned to form an Arab ministerial committee, including the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE in addition to the Secretariat General of the Arab League to follow up the developments of the crisis with Iran and report the findings to a forthcoming Arab ministerial meeting.
He considered this committee as a follow-up mechanism of implementing this decision and forward its report to the nearest ordinary or extraordinary meeting, if deemed necessary. In any case, the Arab foreign ministers meeting scheduled for the UAE on 25 January 2016 will discuss in-depth all challenges facing the Arab national security and interference of neighboring countries in Arab affairs to create a means of totally stopping such interference, he said.
In conclusion, Al-Araby said some countries are speaking about a cool-down and alleviating tension with Iran and not mediation.
- Factbox – Troubled History of Iran-Saudi Relations – Reuters – Jan 3, 2016
- On the execution of Saudi Shi’ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr – Joseph Braude – FPRI – Jan 2, 2016
- Nima al-Nimr…Calling for Incitement from Qom – Asharq Al-Awsat – Jan 3, 2016
- Saudi Executions: Who Were Nimr Al-Nimr and Faris al-Shuwail? – Al Arabiya – Jan 3, 2016
- First Among Equals – Omar Mohamed – Newsweek – Dec 2, 2015
- Iran and Saudi Arabia ramp up hostile rhetoric to new levels – The Guardian – Oct 23, 2015
- “Cut off head of snake” Saudis told US on Iran – Reuters – Nov 29, 2010
- Saudi-Iranian Relations Are Being Restored (1991) – New York Times – Mar 17, 1991
Opened: Jan 3, 2016