Saudi border guards thwart qat smuggling attempt

Saudi border guards thwart qat smuggling attempt
Saudi border guards thwart qat smuggling attempt

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Palestinian state the only solution to Middle East unrest, says Saudi ambassador to US

DAVOS: Security in the Middle East region depends solely on Palestinians getting their own state, the Saudi ambassador to the US said on Thursday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos during a Saudi-focused panel discussion, Princess Reema bint Bandar said the Kingdom fully recognized Israel’s need and desire for security following the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants.

However, that security would not come “at the expense” of the safety of the Palestinian people, and there is a need for an immediate ceasefire, she added.

“How many more children need to die? How many more limbs need to be lost? How many more parents need to lose their livelihoods? It cannot happen anymore; the Kingdom has condemned violence on both sides,” she said.

She also said the Middle East is united in its calls for peace in Gaza, while acknowledging that the region is going through a volatile period, recognizing the “daily shock” of the Gazan people, and adding that it is vital to “do the right thing for the future.”

While Israeli forces continue to kill Palestinian civilians, the topic of normalization of relations with Israel could not be discussed, Princess Reema said.

“The Kingdom has continuously extended a hand for peace, but when we look at the other hand, which has carried the Palestinian people toward statehood, that is a responsibility we take seriously,” she added.

“The Kingdom’s policy is a finite, irrevocable path that means ‘today’ for the Palestinian people.”

Saudi ministers Adel Al-Jubeir, Mohammed Al-Jadaan and Faisal Alibrahim also participated in the panel discussion.

Al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, said the world must be pragmatic about the transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy, and that the Kingdom is ideally placed to take a lead on that front.

“We’re saying, let’s produce (oil) efficiently, let’s produce alternative sources of energy so that we can meet future demands, let’s see what else we can do in terms of carbon capture, let’s change attitudes,” he said.

“Let’s fix this problem. We have the science, we have the resources as a global community, what we need is the will and determination to deal with this issue in a practical, realistic, non-emotional and non-hypocritical manner.”

Al-Jadaan, the Kingdom’s finance minister, said he remains committed to “doubling down” on progressing the Saudi economy in the face of the geopolitical challenges the region faces.

“The region, and the world, needs a strong Saudi Arabia,” he said. “If we are not strong, we are not going to be able to help the region.

"The outlook, despite all the shocks the world has seen, is actually very positive because we approached this from a position of strength, especially on the fiscal side over the past seven years when we enhanced the way we manage public finance.”

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