Palestine is the Kingdom’s top priority issue: Saudi FM

Makkah Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf reaffirmed that the Palestinian cause will remain the Kingdom's top priority until the people of Palestine get their full rights and establish their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Al-Assaf pointed noted that "the Islamic world is undergoing extremely sensitive and grave challenges and changes, including interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries, increasing numbers of displaced persons and refugees as well as the spread of the scourge of terrorism, extremism and sectarianism, which requires us to make a serious pause to examine all the dimensions and implications of these changes, and to follow the best possible ways to address them."

The Saudi minister made the remarks in his speech to the Preparatory Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for the Islamic Summit, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia in Makkah on Friday.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the conflict with Israel remains the most important challenge facing the Islamic Ummah, Al-Assaf said.

I would like to reaffirm that the Palestinian cause is the top priority of Saudi Arabia, particularly the full realization of Palestinian people's legitimate rights and establishment of their independent State with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and the Arab Peace Initiative, endorsed by the successive Arab and Islamic summit conferences," he added, stressing the need for the international community to shoulder its political and moral responsibility in achieving international resolutions on the Palestinian question.

Saudi Arabia attaches great importance to the stability in Yemen and regrets the continued coup against the legitimate authority by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias, which is a clear example of Iran's continued interference in the internal affairs of states. This should be rejected by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as it contradicts OIC Charter and international conventions," he noted.

The Saudi minister reiterated his country's support for the efforts of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen to reach a political solution in accordance with Security Council Resolution 2216, the Gulf Initiative and the outcome of the Yemeni national dialogue and the Stockholm Agreement.

Al-Assaf explained that Saudi Arabia stands by Sudan and supports the Transitional Military Council and the measures it has taken in the interest of the Sudanese people. He also stressed support to the Sudanese people's vision for the future of their country, expressing the hope that steps announced by the Military Council would preserve life and property, and usher in achieving security, stability and economic development of Sudan.

On the Syrian issue, he underlined Saudi Arabia's support for every sincere effort to seek a political solution that will preserve the unity of Syria and its institutions and end the presence of sectarian terrorist groups in the country, based on the Geneva communique, the decisions of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Al-Assaf reaffirmed the Kingdom's commitment to the sovereignty and unity of Libya and its territorial integrity, and rejection of external intervention, calling on all parties to work for the unity of the country and to fight the terrorist groups.

Meanwhile, Al-Assaf renewed Saudi Arabia's strong condemnation of the massacres, ethnic cleansing and forcible deportation of the Rohingya Muslims. He confirmed the Kingdom's support for the return of the Rohingya refugees to their homeland and emphasized the need to provide necessary conditions to ensure safe and voluntary return of refugees, through the development of a clear and time-bound roadmap.

He also asserted the importance of supporting the Ministerial Committee set up under the decision of the 46th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers on the accountability for human rights violations against the Rohingya, as well as the follow-up on the findings of the UN fact-finding mission mandated by the Human Rights Council to investigate the facts and circumstances of the recent violations against the Muslim minority in Myanmar to ensure justice for victims and full accountability for the perpetrators of these actions.

The Saudi foreign minister stressed his country's commitment to combating terrorism and its funding in all their forms and countering extremist ideology.

Al-Assaf called for further efforts to combat sabotage acts of extremist and terrorist groups, the latest of which was the operations targeting commercial vessels near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates, and the drone attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia. He warned that such cowardly acts constitute a threat to the global economy as well as to the regional and international security.

The Saudi diplomat urged the OIC � the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, representing one-third of the world's population � to play a key role in the establishment of peace and security in the world and to cooperate with all regional and international actors. He pointed out that this will only come about with sincere intentions, hard work and close cooperation among the member states.

Source: International Islamic News Agency