Constructive Dialogue in Saudi Arabia

Secretary Kerry visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 6-7 for a series of meetings on regional security issues with senior government leaders including His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, His Royal Highness, the Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister al-Jubeir.

Following his meetings, Secretary Kerry said, “We talked at great length about…Yemen, about U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s efforts, and the importance of trying to find a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

Secretary Kerry expressed support of Saudi King Salman’s announcement of a conference in Riyadh on May 17 to address the crisis in Yemen. The Secretary said, “Everyone agreed that that conference can help lead into the subsequent talks under the UN auspices, and that all of this dialogue is beneficial in an effort to try to find a political resolution to the crisis.”  Secretary Kerry also thanked Saudi Arabia for supporting the UN’s humanitarian efforts through its decision to provide $274 million in humanitarian assistance to Yemen. Secretary Kerry welcomed the new Saudi initiative to try to bring about a peaceful resolution through the announcement of intent to establish a full, five-day renewable ceasefire and humanitarian pause.  But he emphasized, “This ceasefire is conditioned on the Houthis agreeing to live by these same commitments. So we strongly urge the Houthis and those who back them, whom we suggest use all of their influence, not to miss this major opportunity to address the needs of the Yemeni people and find a peaceful way forward in Yemen. A ceasefire has been a longstanding goal of the international community, and we deeply respect the leadership in Saudi Arabia for stepping up, taking on this initiative, and saying to the world they’re prepared to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Yemen.”

Secretary Kerry noted that while details and date of the commencement of this ceasefire, are being worked out, “we will have several days between today’s announcement and the actual start of the ceasefire in order to allow time for the international community to prepare the food, the medicine, and the other supplies for distribution so that it can be done in an orderly and efficient process once the ceasefire does take effect, if the Houthi accept the conditions. And that will also give us time to do the diplomacy necessary to try to encourage this process to be able to take hold.” The United States remains deeply concerned about the situation on the ground in Yemen, and we fully support efforts to facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid.  

In addition to Yemen, the Secretary and his Saudi counterparts discussed the potential Iran nuclear deal. Secretary Kerry said, “Throughout the P5+1 negotiating process, we’ve been constantly consulting with Saudi Arabia, and we will continue to do so.  We make clear that we remain concerned about Iran’s destabilizing actions in the region, and it is precisely because of those concerns that we believe it is so important that Iran not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.”

 

The Secretary and his counterparts also discussed the situation in Syria and progress in our shared fight against Daesh (ISIL). Secretary Kerry noted, “A lot remains to be done, but I can affirm today that Daesh’s forces are increasingly under strain, its leadership has been degraded, their communications have been interrupted, their manner of operating has been changed, and its hateful ideology is increasingly being discredited. So we are fortunate that Saudi Arabia has been a critical partner in all of these efforts and we’re grateful for their help.”

Secretary Kerry began a trip that included visits to Colombo, Nairobi, Mogadishu, Djibouti and Riyadh at the beginning of this month.  He will conclude his trip with a visit to Paris, France, where he will meet with Foreign Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to discuss shared regional priorities and security cooperation, as well as participate in Victory Day commemorations marking the allied victory in Europe.

Follow Secretary Kerry @JohnKerry on Twitter for more information and updates from his trip.

Secretary Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Hold a Joint News Conference
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
May 7, 2015

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