Saudi re­news of­fer to de­ploy troops to Syria

Khaleej Times - - MIDDLE EAST -

riyadh — Saudi For­eign Min­is­ter Adel Al Jubeir reaf­firmed on Tues­day the king­dom’s will­ing­ness to de­ploy troops to Syria as part of US-led ef­forts to sta­bilise the con­flict-torn coun­try.

“We are in dis­cus­sions with the US and have been since the be­gin­ning of the Syr­ian cri­sis (in 2011) about send­ing forces into Syria,” Jubeir said at a press con­fer­ence in Riyadh with UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res.

The com­ments were in re­sponse to a Wall Street Jour­nal re­port on Mon­day that US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was seek­ing to as­sem­ble an Arab force.

The re­port fol­lows week­end strikes by the United States, Britain and France against Syr­ian leader Bashar Al As­sad’s regime that hit tar­gets they said were linked to its chem­i­cal weapons pro­gramme.

Jubeir em­pha­sised the pro­posal to send its troops was “not new”.

“We made a pro­posal to the (pre­vi­ous US) Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion that if the US were to send forces... then Saudi Ara­bia would con­sider along with other coun­tries send­ing forces as part of this con­tin­gent,” he said.

Syria’s war, the most tan­gled of the re­gion’s con­flicts, is a key point of con­tention pit­ting Riyadh and its al­lies, who mainly back rebels, against regime backer Iran . —

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