MANAMA: Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir refuted media reports about any intention to shift Saudi Arabia’s alliance away from United States and the West. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strategic relations with the United States that goes back to the 1930’s, it was enshrined by a meeting with the late King Abdulaziz and late Franklin Roosevelt. That relationship is ironclad. Saudi Arabia has been and ally for the Western countries since the beginning of the third Saudi state in the 1930’s. It’s not going to change.”
“Friends come and go but interests are remain, this is how we look at our relationship with the west in general and the United States in particular,” he added.
The Saudi FM’s comments came in response to a question by Arab News at the first day of the annual IISS Manama Dialogue 2018. Al Jubeir also praised the current US administration’s Middle East strategy, especially when it comes to containing Iran.
He said that since coming into office, President Trump since coming into office has been protecting US allies, a foreign policy which the Saudi FM described as both “rational and realistic.”
“He (Trump) has defeated ISIS in Syria because he wasn’t hesitant about deploying force. He has defeated ISIS in Iraq, when it took years for the Obama administration to make any progress. He has put Iran on notice that business as usual cannot continue and posed sanctions against Iran,” added Al Jubeir.
On the matter of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing and the ongoing investigation, Al Jubeir said the Saudi government is committed to finding all the facts, and said it is working closely with the Turkish government to do so.
“We know a mistake was committed, we know that people exceeded their authority and that we are investigating them,” he said.
Asked on the issue of extraditing the Saudi nationals currently detained pending the investigation to Turkey, Al Jubeir stressed that “the individuals are of Saudi nationals, they are detained in Saudi Arabia, the investigation is in Saudi Arabia and they will be prosecuted in Saudi Arabia.”
“Unfortunately there has been hysteria in the media about Saudi Arabia’s guilt before the investigation is completed.. wait until the investigation is done and the results of the investigation and then make a determination if the investigation is serious or not, but not from the get go,” he responded to a series of questions on the same topic.
During an earlier IISS Manama Dialogue session, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis was also asked about his views on the Khashoggi’s case and said that his (Khashoggi’s) murder within a diplomatic facility “must concern us all.” And while Mattis said the failure of any nation to adhere to international norms and rule of law “undermines regional stability at a time when it is needed most,” he also stressed the strength of Saudi-US relations by saying “We maintain our strong people-to-people partnership knowing that with our respect must come transparency and trust as indicated by President Trump, Secretary Pompeo and European leaders alike.
“These two principles are vital to continue collaborations because we know that to remain committed, we’r going to have to continue transparency and security for all in this region.”