Saudi Arabia wants to see ‘verifiable deeds’ from talks with Iran, says official

A photo taken on June 6, 2017 shows a general view of the King Fahad street in the Saudi capital Riyadh. (AFP/ File)
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Updated 08 May 2021

Saudi Arabia wants to see ‘verifiable deeds’ from talks with Iran, says official

  • Talks ‘intensify’ on Iranian nuclear crisis
  • Minister said Saudi policy had been explained “very clearly” by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

JEDDAH: A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said on Friday that talks between the Kingdom and Iran aim to reduce regional tensions, but added it was too early to judge the outcome and Riyadh wanted to see “verifiable deeds.”

The comments by Ambassador Rayed Krimly, head of policy planning at the ministry, were the first public confirmation that the rivals — who severed ties in 2016 — were holding direct talks.

“As to current Saudi-Iranian talks they aim to explore ways to reduce tensions in the region,” Krimly told Reuters. 

“We hope they prove successful, but it is too early, and premature, to reach any definitive conclusions. Our evaluation will be based on verifiable deeds, and not proclamations.”

Regional officials and sources told Reuters that the discussions were focused on Yemen and the 2015 nuclear deal between global powers and Iran, which Riyadh had opposed.

Iraq’s president said on Wednesday that Baghdad hosted more than one round of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Krimly said Saudi policy had been explained “very clearly” by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who last month said that while the Sunni  Kingdom has a problem with Tehran’s “negative behavior” it wanted good relations with Shiite Iran.

Krimly said recent media reports that the head of Saudi intelligence had held talks in Damascus were inaccurate. 

He said Saudi policy toward Syria remained based on support for the Syrian people, for a political solution under a UN umbrella and in accordance with Security Council resolutions, and for the unity and Arab identity of Syria.


Yemen war

Tensions between Riyadh and Tehran have festered over the Yemen war, where an Iran-aligned Houthi group has increased attacks on Saudi Arabia. Strains between the two Gulf powerhouses also grew after a 2019 assault on Saudi oil plants that Riyadh blamed on Iran, a charge Tehran denies.

Riyadh supported former US President Donald Trump’s decision in 2018 to quit the nuclear pact for not addressing Tehran’s missiles program and regional behavior. After Trump re-imposed sanctions on Iran, Tehran responded by breaching several nuclear restrictions.

Global powers are trying at talks in Vienna to bring the United States and Iran back into full compliance with the deal. Saudi Arabia has urged them to reach a stronger accord.

The talks began in Austria in early April. Russian delegate Mikhail Ulyanov tweeted following Friday’s meeting that “the participants agreed on the need to intensify the process.” The delegations seem to be ready to stay in Vienna as long as necessary to achieve the goal, he wrote.

Riyadh and Tehran have also backed opposing sides in Lebanon and Syria, where Iran has supported President Bashar Assad.

Gulf states have been alarmed by the rising influence of non-Arab Iran, Russia and Turkey in Syria, especially after Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 over its crackdown on protesters at the start of the civil war.

The US pulled out of the landmark 2015 deal in 2018 after then-President Donald Trump said the pact needed to be renegotiated.

US President Joe Biden says he wants to rejoin the deal, but that Iran needs to return to compliance.

On Friday, Biden said he believed the Iranians were approaching the talks seriously, the AP reported

“But how serious and what they’re prepared to do is a different story,” Biden said. “We’re still talking.”

 


Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

Updated 25 min 50 sec ago

Saudi envoy congratulates UN chief on second term

NEW YORK: Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN in New York, congratulated UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on securing a second term.

Al-Mouallimi expressed the aspiration of the Saudi mission to continue working with the secretary-general in promoting peace and security around the world as well as ensuring the achievement of sustainable development goals.

Meanwhile, Al-Mouallimi chaired the virtual meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Contact Group with the UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

The meeting tackled the latest political developments in Myanmar and the humanitarian situation of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Updated 25 min 9 sec ago

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Al-Arifi, deputy director general at Saudi Arabia’s Institute of Public Administration

Abdulrahman Al-Arifi is deputy director general for research and consultation at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

In 2001, he received a master’s degree in computer science from the University of New Orleans, US. In 2012, he obtained a Ph.D. in information systems from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. His doctoral thesis was nominated for the QUT outstanding doctoral thesis award in 2015.

Al-Arifi joined IPA as a faculty member in 1996. Some of his main responsibilities are to oversee, evaluate and innovate IPA research and consultancy services that are provided to the public and private sectors.

He is chair of the scientific council and the supervisor general of the editorial board of the Public Administration Journal, which oversees IPA’s academic activities. He has also served as both member and consultant in many government committees.

Before his appointment, Al-Arifi served as IT director general, where he was responsible for overseeing and monitoring the execution of projects in the four departments of applications, operations, customer services and information security.

Through his research activities, he leads and assists in the production of authentic and in-depth studies that analyze and address administrative issues. He also supervises consultation activities and assists in providing professional consultations based on modern scientific methodologies.

Al-Arifi, a certified ITIL V3, has won several awards for his research. In 2015, he was recognized by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in Australia for his academic performance.


Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Hajj ministry warns against using fake registration links

  • More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has warned citizens and residents against dealing with bogus Hajj companies that are not listed on the online portal for pilgrims.
The ministry also urged all citizens and residents to be wary of unlicensed adverts on social media that do not have official endorsement.
It advised people to report any agency, company or link claiming to provide permits or services to pilgrims for Hajj 2021 outside the framework of the portal.
Deputy Hajj minister Abdulfattah bin Sulaiman Mashat said that pilgrims should only book the services of Hajj companies and institutions through the authorized online registration portal for pilgrims.
More than 500,000 people have applied to perform the Hajj this year so far.

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Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 19 June 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 13 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 454,404
  • A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 13 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,153 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 335 were recorded in Makkah, 266 in Riyadh, 148 in the Eastern Province, 119 in Asir, 84 in Jazan, 63 in Madinah, 27 in Najran, 23 in Tabuk, 17 in Hail, 12 in Al-Baha, 10 in the Northern Borders region, and four in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 454,404 after 1,145 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 7,663 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 16.4 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.


Arab coalition destroys 17 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

Updated 3 min 15 sec ago

Arab coalition destroys 17 Houthi drones targeting southern Saudi Arabia

  • Iran-backed Houthi militia have consistently launched attacks against the Kingdom
  • The militia once again face international condemnation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s air defenses destroyed 17 Houthi drones launched toward the Kingdom’s southern region on Saturday.
A booby-trapped drone targeted Khamis Mushait early morning before seven more targeting the southern region were intercepted in Yemeni airspace during the afternoon.
Khamis Mushait was again targeted by two drones in the evening.

Another drone targeted Najran late evening before six more were shot down near midnight.
The Houthi militia’s deliberate and systematic escalation against Yemenis constitutes a war crime, the coalition said, adding that it was taking measures to protect civilians from hostile attacks.
The Iran-backed Houthis have been attacking the Kingdom with explosives-laden drones on an almost daily basis in recent weeks despite US, UN and Saudi calls for a ceasefire in Yemen.

They again faced international condemnation on Saturday for the latest round of attacks.

Kuwait said it supported all the measures taken by Saudi Arabia to maintain its security and stability. Bahrain praised the vigilance of the coalition forces to intercept and destroy the drones.

The UAE condemned the militia for "systematically targeting civilians," while Jordan said any threat to the security of Saudi Arabia was a threat to the entire region.

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