Saudi minister calls out Iran for 'accusing others' while being 'world's chief sponsor of terrorism'

Published February 18, 2019
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (left) holds a joint presser with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (left) holds a joint presser with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on Monday accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism for decades, saying it was "strange [for] the foreign minister of the world's chief sponsor of terrorism to accuse others of engaging in terrorist activities".

The minister, who is part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's visiting delegation, was addressing a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Islamabad.

When asked about Tehran's recent allegations that held Pakistan responsible for an attack that killed more than 20 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, Qureshi said that he had assured Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that Pakistan would "never condone [any terrorist] activity".

"We have always condemned such activity. Iran is our neighbour and we would never cause any problem for them," Qureshi said. "We respect their sovereignty and territorial integrity and I'm sure they respect ours."

He said that Pakistan would be "helpful" if Iran comes forward with any evidence. He recalled that Pakistan had cooperated with Iran in the past to "overcome these difficulties".

The Saudi minister, meanwhile, questioned how Iran — which he called "the world's chief sponsor of terrorism" — could accuse others of engaging in terrorist activities.

He accused Iran of "sponsoring" terrorism "since the Iranian revolution of 1979", adding that Iran had "established terrorist groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen. He said that "Iran had been implicated" in terrorist attacks that took place in other countries, including Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Al-Jubeir went on to accuse Iran of providing arms to terrorist groups and interfering in other countries' affairs as well as "harbouring" terrorists of Al Qaeda, "including Osama bin Laden's son".

"Saudi Arabia has been a victim of terrorism," he asserted. "We have been vigilant and unmerciful in going after the terrorists and those who support them and condone them."

"We wish to eliminate the scourge of terrorism from the face of this planet," he said, adding that the Iranian regime was "deflecting blame because it was facing pressure from the people".

Regional stability

Speaking on the regional situation, the Saudi state minister said that peace in Afghanistan would be of "benefit" to the entire region, including Saudi Arabia.

He said that the Saudi Arabian regime had been working with Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United States and the United Arab Emirates to "facilitate an agreement between the Taliban and Afghan government" in order to "move Afghanistan towards peace".

He also addressed the frosty relations between India and Pakistan and said that Saudi Arabia's "objective" was to "try to deescalate tensions" between the neighbouring countries. He hoped that both countries would be able to resolve the dispute between them "peacefully".

The statements come amid growing tensions between India and Pakistan after the former accused Islamabad of sponsoring an attack in Pulwama district of occupied Kashmir, that killed 44 Indian soldiers.

The Saudi crown prince's agenda includes a visit to India.

'Investment, not charity'

Stressing the importance of Pakistan-Saudi ties, Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom had a "strategic interest" in Pakistan. He said that several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) and agreements were signed between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, "three of which involved investment in excess of $20 million", including one regarding an oil refinery in Gwadar Port.

He said that the agreements and MoUs were "just the beginning", making clear that "this is not charity — this is an investment".

"There is benefit for both sides. If we didn't believe in Pakistan, we wouldn't have been looking at these investments," he added.

"We are looking for ways to enhance contact between the business communities in our two countries. We are looking for ways to institutionalise the relationship between our two great nations across the board in all government departments."

Jubeir said that the Supreme Coordination Council (SCC) — that has been established to boost political, diplomatic and trade ties — would "involve almost every facet of our governments; whether it's security, political consultation, trade and investment, or culture".

The Saudi minister hoped that both countries would overcome the challenges they have been facing. He thanked the Pakistani government for its "hospitality and also [its] friendship".

Lauding the Kingdom's move to reduce visa fee for Pakistanis, Foreign Minister Qureshi hoped that Saudi Arabia would respond similarly to Prime Minister Imran Khan's requests to make the immigration process for Haj pilgrims easier.

Opinion

ECP roars back
Updated 19 Jun 2021

ECP roars back

The bill is a shocking manifestation of the PTI government’s unilateral push to have its way.
Meeting at the top
19 Jun 2021

Meeting at the top

There must be the will to listen, to confer and to compromise...
Budgeting with constraints
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Budgeting with constraints

The budget strategy will deliver growth but raises the risk of external account stress.

Editorial

19 Jun 2021

NA peace — for now

AFTER a session of utter pandemonium and a distasteful war of words, normalcy finally returned to the National...
India uranium theft
Updated 19 Jun 2021

India uranium theft

REPORTS emerging from India about the theft of uranium and possible sale on the black market should be a cause for...
19 Jun 2021

KCR rigmarole

THURSDAY’S proceedings in the Supreme Court clearly demonstrated how divided the stakeholders are when it comes to...
Poll bill reservations
Updated 18 Jun 2021

Poll bill reservations

Reforming the electoral process is vital for Pakistan, and doing so by taking everyone on board is equally important.
18 Jun 2021

E-fund transfer fee

THE State Bank’s decision to withdraw the facility of free of cost digital fund transfer services is disappointing...
18 Jun 2021

Gaza bombed again

MEMORIES of last month’s savage assault by Israel targeting Gaza had not yet faded when earlier this week news...