Saudi Arabia: ‘Solving conflicts by peaceful means’

Aid is being distributed by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre to camps in Yemen.  (Photo: Saudi Press Agency)

Aid is being distributed by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre to camps in Yemen. (Photo: Saudi Press Agency)

Over the past year, there has been much talk in the media about the contract for General Dynamics Land Systems Canada to sell light armoured vehicles and provide training to the Saudi Arabia Royal Guard.
There has also been a surge in misleading information about Saudi Arabia, which has been sensationalized and politicized by the Canadian media. Some seek to exploit the ambiguities of the situation to their own advantage. Many of those media organizations have asked me to address these topics.
I would like to start by saying that the government of Saudi Arabia has been working very hard with its international partners to achieve stability in the Middle East. The kingdom continues to uphold the commitment to its policy of achieving international peace and security, solving conflicts by peaceful means and respecting human rights. The kingdom’s message has been consistent over the years — that it would put maximum effort into working with international organizations and member states that believe in action for the good of humanity.

Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Commercial Corporation have negotiated a planned sale of General Dynamics’ light-armoured vehicles. (Photo: combat camera)

Saudi Arabia and the Canadian Commercial Corporation have negotiated a planned sale of General Dynamics’ light-armoured vehicles. (Photo: combat camera)

Saudi Arabia is a force for peace and security throughout the region, as it has a tremendous stake in its stability. Therefore, we have a responsibility to try to resolve problems before they consume all of us. We are determined to work with our allies in the United States, Canada, Britain and around the world to bring this about — whether through the war on terrorism, trying to stabilize the Middle East, attempting to bring a political transition to Syria, implementing United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 (a roadmap for the peace process in Syria), or trying to secure peace in Yemen, based on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, and the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative.
Our region, unfortunately, is experiencing many challenges, and resolving these challenges is important for the future of the region and the world. It has never been more critical than now to work with our partners and build a better understanding of different cultures and beliefs.
It is for that very reason, and to strengthen our bilateral relationship, that the government of Saudi Arabia signed a contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) and General Dynamics to export Canadian-made military equipment and training to the kingdom. The Saudi Embassy in Canada welcomed this partnership as it signalled Saudi Arabia’s commitment to strengthening and enhancing bilateral co-operation between our two countries. Although Saudi Arabia had multiple options from different manufacturers, the contract was awarded to General Dynamics Land Systems to support the bilateral desire to increase trade between the two countries and promote the numerous advantages of deepening Saudi-Canada investment relationships.
It is important to mention in this context that the kingdom adheres to Islamic Sharia law, which calls for preserving and protecting all human rights. The establishment of rule in the kingdom is based on justice, consultation and equality and the judicial system is at the forefront of state institutions regarding the protection of human rights. The judicial system in Saudi Arabia is independent, fair and transparent. It ensures equality and the right of litigation for all citizens and expatriates on its territory.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the call for universal human rights does not mean imposition of principles and values that go against our Islamic values and religion.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not accept any interference in its jurisdiction or internal affairs by any party.
The decisions about judicial matters are all internal. We have tremendous respect for the judicial systems of other countries and expect other countries to respect ours.
On Yemen, I would like to say that the Saudi-led coalition was formed to support the legitimacy of Yemen’s rightful government. It is not a war that we wanted, but we had no other options. There was a radical militia allied with enemy forces that took over the country. It possessed heavy weapons. Saudi Arabia could not stand idly by while this happened at our doorstep, in a country where al-Qaeda has a huge presence.
To date, officials have reported that 75 percent of the country is under the control of the legitimate government. Now we are in the stabilization phase. Saudi Arabia is helping the government of Yemen by providing security services and supporting the country’s army so it can be better equipped to engage and extend its control in the region. Saudi Arabia is committed to helping its friend and neighbour and the people of Yemen until stability is returned in the country.
The Saudi and Emirati Special Forces have succeeded in retaking cities that were serving as the base of al-Qaeda operations in Yemen. I would like to reiterate that the government of Saudi Arabia is committed to finding a peaceful and political solution in Yemen, with the co-operation of the international community, our friends and our allies. My government always believes that international conflicts can be peacefully resolved.
Saudi Arabia is not seeking the role of power. What the government wants is stability and security in the region so we can focus on our own development. The challenge is that we have conflicts in the region, and nobody has been able to resolve them. The international community called upon the countries of the region to step up to resolve their problems. Saudi Arabia stepped up and responded to the situation as part of a coalition, at the request of the legitimate government of Yemen for support. The coalition has now removed, to a large extent, the threat of al-Qaeda to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia continues to fight extremism as an ideology and practice. It has been relentless in combating terrorism and has used its national security apparatus to support that policy. Guided by the principles of Islamic teachings that promote values of respect, mercy and justice, Saudi Arabia renounces violence and is committed to achieving peace in our region as a unifying force, guided by the United Nations and the support of our Canadian friends and other international allies.

Naif Bin Bandir Alsudairy is the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Canada.

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