Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Exclusive - Shura Council Chief: Regional Affairs Must Not Be Exploited to Target Saudi Arabia

Exclusive - Shura Council Chief: Regional Affairs Must Not Be Exploited to Target Saudi Arabia

Monday, 19 November, 2018 - 08:15
Head of the Saudi Shura Council Sheikh Abdullah al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Abdullah al-Hayda
Head of the Saudi Shura Council Sheikh Abdullah al-Sheikh stated that some countries are trying to meddle in the Kingdom’s internal affairs, stressing that he rejects the politicization of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He made his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat Sunday on the eve of a much-anticipated speech by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz before the Council.

Commenting on the speech, he said that it will detail Saudi internal and foreign policies and the Council will use them as a guide during the upcoming period.

On the Council’s role in achieving Vision 2030 and its programs over the past two years, he remarked: “The Council was receptive of the comprehensive development plan that is being led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It came at the right time for the Saudi economy and meets the expectations of the youth.”

“The clarity of the Vision facilitates the role of the Council,” he added. “From time to time, the Council also drafts new laws that facilitate government work.”

Addressing the media campaign against the Kingdom in wake of Khashoggi’s murder, Sheikh said: “This campaign and the pressures that come with it are not new to us.”

“The greater the entity and the more influential it is, then the greater the attacks against it are,” he noted.

“We reject all attempts to politicize or exploit this case to attack Saudi Arabia, its reputation and values,” he declared.

“Saudi Arabia will remain a main factor of stability and security on the regional and international levels,” he continued. “It will persevere against all plots aimed at destabilizing it. The Council had previously condemned this media campaign and called on all sides to unite against it.”

Addressing foreign governments’ attempts to meddle directly and indirectly in internal Saudi affairs, Sheikh said: “It is not important to pinpoint the causes of such action. Some governments may be ignorant of the nature of international relations and they are therefore, still trying to exaggerate issues in order to serve their own interests.”

“Such stances must, however, change after Saudi Arabia took clear positions” in the Khashoggi case and after it revealed several facts, he stressed.

Turning to the Saudi diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar and its doubting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Sheikh remarked: “The GCC is a large organization that will not be harmed by the stances of one nation.”

“Its achievements cannot be denied and Saudi Arabia has stood against attempts to undermine it,” he stated. “No one will be able to harm Gulf unity.”

Commenting on criticism against the Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore legitimacy on Yemen, he said: “The only impact this alliance has had was restoring glory to the Arab ummah in defending itself.”

“Any attempts to question the role Saudi Arabia and members of the alliance are playing are being dashed by their accomplishments on the ground in Yemen,” he added.

Moreover, he said: “All attempts to question Saudi Arabia will fail.”

On the Shura Council’s ties with over 100 parliaments throughout the world, Sheikh said that the Council has exerted major efforts in presenting Saudi Arabia’s stances on various urgent or pending issues.

Its goal is to relay its position to various decision-makers, he went on to say.

The Council is also playing an effective role at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which is the world’s largest parliamentary organization. The Council is also a member of several regional, continental and international parliamentary groups and it plays an influential role there given Saudi Arabia’s powerful position in the world.

Parliamentary diplomacy, Sheikh said, is now one of the important means through which countries can defend their causes and explain their policies.

Editor Picks