Saudi Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State Confirm Strategic Partnership

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on May 20 that the Saudi.-U.S. partnership is stronger than ever and built on shared security interests, close economic cooperation and mutual trust. They made the remarks during a press conference in Riyadh to brief reporters on the first day of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Minister Al-Jubeir described the day as a truly historic one for U.S.-Saudi relations, further deepening the ties between the two longstanding allies. Minister Al-Jubeir discussed the Joint Strategic Vision Declaration signed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and President Donald Trump.

He said he strategic vision will address ways to cooperate on “violent extremism, financing of terrorism, increasing defense capabilities, working on a defense architecture for the region … trade and investment, education, and working in all fields in order to enhance our common interests and deal with the challenges that face both of our countries.”

Minister Al-Jubeir also said that the visit is a turning point for the Islamic world’s relationship with the U.S. and will advance international cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

“If we can change the conversation in the Islamic world from enmity towards the U.S. to partnership with the U.S. and if we can change the conversation in the U.S. and in the West from enmity towards the Islamic world to one of partnership, we would have truly changed our world and we would have truly drowned the voices of extremism and we will have drained the swamp from which extremism and terrorism emanates,” said Minister Al-Jubeir.

The two leaders outlined a renewed commitment to defense cooperation. Earlier yesterday, the two countries signed a defense agreement worth more than $100 billion that will upgrade Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities, allowing it to better protect its borders and aid in the global fight against terrorism. Secretary Tillerson praised the deal’s economic impact, stating that it would generate “hundreds of thousands” of American jobs.

Minister Al-Jubeir criticized Iran for conducting destabilizing actions throughout the region, including in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. The foreign minister said the world should judge Iran by its actions, not words.

“If Iran wants to be a normal country and wants others to treat it like a normal country, it has to act in accord with international law and the values and the mores of the international system that have existed for centuries,” said Minister Al-Jubeir.

Minister Al-Jubeir expressed an outlook for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Yemen and called on the Houthi militias to end all separatist activities.

“Now we have a radical militia [Houthis], allied with Iran and Hezbollah in possession of ballistic missiles and an air force, that has taken over a friendly government.  [The] friendly government asked for support, we intervened,” explained Minister Al-Jubeir. “The Houthis are less than 50,000 in a country of 28 million. It is unacceptable that they would be allowed to seize power and get away with it.”

Source: The Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia