Our hand is extended to Iran... No such thing as an ‘Arab NATO’: Saudi FM

Ahram Online , Saturday 16 Jul 2022

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said on Saturday that there no such thing as an “Arabic NATO.”

Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud speaks during a press conference after the end of Security and Development Summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, July 16, 2022. AP


This came during a press conference at the conclusion of the Jeddah Security and Development Summit, which was held in the presence of US President Joe Biden.

Bin Farhan said that the Kingdom’s hand is extended to Iran to reach normal relations, pointing out that the talks that took place with Iran were positive, but did not reach any results.

He also noted that there were no messages from Iran to the Jeddah Summit, stressing that dialogue and diplomacy are the only solution to Iran’s nuclear programme.

Furthermore, the Saudi FM said that no type of military or technical cooperation with Israel was raised or discussed and that there is no such thing as an “Arab NATO,” reiterating that there was no discussion of a “defensive alliance” with Israel.

Additionally, he said that the joint Arab action system has reached a stage of “maturity”, adding: “We know what we want, and we know how to achieve it... We do not wait for anyone to fulfil our needs.”

“We did not discuss the issue of oil production at the Jeddah Summit, and OPEC+ continues its work to assess the markets and what they need,” he added.

Bin Farhan also said that the US remains our main strategic partner, stressing that “the kingdom’s partnership with America is old and continuous... and the agreements we signed with America did not come to fruition overnight.”

Furthermore, he touched on the decision to open Saudi airspace for civil aviation, stressing that this decision “does not mean any prelude to a subsequent decision.”

“We are working seriously to reach a comprehensive ceasefire in Yemen, and the Houthis must understand that Yemen’s interest is in peace and stability,” he said adding that “Iranian weapons are part of the reasons for the continuing conflict in Yemen.”

Moving on, He said that Saudi Arabia’s maximum production capacity is 13 million barrels, and also called for a balanced approach to reach “zero neutrality,” adding that many countries cannot convert to renewable energy quickly.

“If oil investments are not expanded, prices will rise in the future.”

Regarding the global food crisis as a result of the war in Ukraine, bin Farhan said: “At the Jeddah Security and Development Summit, we discussed the issue of food and grains, and we are working to increase the level of coordination between Arab countries to ensure food security.”

He concluded by saying that there is coordination with America and the Arabs regarding dealing with Iran, stressing that “it has become clear that whoever wants to have a global agenda should talk with Saudi Arabia.”

At the opening of the summit on Saturday afternoon, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Jeddah Summit is being held at a time when the world is witnessing great challenges, saying: “We hope that the Jeddah Summit will face global challenges,” stressing that the global economy is linked to the stability of energy prices.

The crown prince also expressed his hope that this summit will establish a new era of partnership between the countries of the region and the US, calling on Iran to cooperate and not interfere in the affairs of countries in the region.

For his part, President Biden said that the US is committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon. He also pledged to strengthen air defences and early warning systems to counter air threats in the region.

The visit to Jeddah was the last stop on Biden’s first Middle East tour as president of the US.

The tour also included Israel and the Palestinian territories, where he sought to present a new vision for the American role in the strategic region, stressing that the US “will not abandon it.”

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