Deputy Crown Prince’s meeting with Obama fruitful: Al-Jubeir
WASHINGTON—Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Thursday was “fruitful” and “constructive”, according to Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel Al-Jubeir.
In a press conference at the Saudi embassy on Friday, AlJubeir said the bilateral talks covered a wide range of issues, and that the kingdom’s position on the Syrian crisis “converged” with Washington’s position, “indicating that the two countries agree on a political solution to the Syrian crisis and the need for the removal of Bashar al-Assad.”
A White House press statement said Obama “expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s contributions to the campaign against ISIL,” using an acro- nym for the Daesh group, reports Arab News.
The two talked about steps to support Iraqis “including increased Gulf support to fund urgent humanitarian and stabilization needs,” the White House said.
Al-Jubeir said, “Saudi Arabia is seeking to preserve Syrian territorial integrity, preserving of state institutions and that it had, repeatedly, called for military intervention, in Syria, since the beginning of the protection of civilians, in order to change the balance of forces on the ground to resolve the Syrian crisis, he remarked, adding that this crisis will end, provided that there are no more of Bashar al-Assad, either through political process or by force.”
Obama and the deputy crown prince talked about the importance of supporting a political transition away from President Bashar Assad, the White House said. The United States is working with international partners on what it calls a Syrian-led transition process facilitated by the United Nations, but so far there has been little progress.
Obama welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to a political settlement of the Yemen conflict and support by the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the kingdom is a member, to address humanitarian needs and rebuild the country, the White House said.
US officials have expressed unease about the Saudiled campaign against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which according to the United Nations and human rights groups has resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties.
Al-Jubeir said that the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is making every effort to reduce losses and reaffirmed that the United Arab Emirates remains a key state in the alliance for the restoration of legitimacy in Yemen. ”We want a political solution in Yemen that would lead to the launch of a transitional phase followed by the reconstruction phase,” he said.
Al-Jubeir reiterated the kingdom’s position that Iran was trying to destabilize the region. “Iran is interfering in the internal affairs of neighboring countries and export terrorism to them,” he said, adding that “there is no change in the position of Saudi Arabia towards Tehran.”