‘Nothing has been ruled out’: Saudi ambassador

In a US op ed, Saudi Arabia’s UK ambassador warns the kingdom will act without Western backing in regional conflicts
Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. (Getty Images)
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 19 Dec 2013 11:42 AM

Saudi Arabia has not ruled out anything in its pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the Arab world, the kingdom’s ambassador to the UK has warned in an opinion piece published in The New York Times.

Writing to an American audience, Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz Al Saud also said Saudi Arabia would act independently if the West refused to assist in regional conflicts, in particular the Syrian crisis.

“The foreign policy choices being made in some Western capitals risk the stability of the region and, potentially, the security of the whole Arab world,” Al Saud, a member of the royal family, wrote.

“This means the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no choice but to become more assertive in international affairs: more determined than ever to stand up for the genuine stability our region so desperately needs.

“We will act to fulfill [our] responsibilities, with or without the support of our Western partners.

“Nothing is ruled out in our pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the Arab World ... We showed our preparedness to act independently with our decision to reject a seat on the United Nations Security Council.”

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and its traditional Western allies, including the US and UK, have simmered recently over what the kingdom says has been inaction in Syria and its fears a recent nuclear agreement with Iran is a sign of a softening stance on one of its main rivals.

Earlier this year the kingdom dramatically turned down its seat on the United Nations Security Council in retaliation.

Al Saud said the West’s policies on both Iran and Syria risked the stability and security of the Middle East and were “a dangerous gamble” that the kingdom could not “stand idly by” and watch.

The West’s concerns over Al Qaeda in Syria were “no excuse” for inaction, while the policy change on Iran had allowed its program for uranium enrichment to continue, “with all the consequent dangers of weaponisation”.

“Saudi Arabia has enormous responsibilities within the region, as the cradle of Islam and one of the Arab world’s most significant political powers. We have global responsibilities — economic and political — as the world’s de facto central banker for energy. And we have a humanitarian responsibility to do what we can to end the suffering in Syria,” Al Saud wrote.

“Saudi Arabia will continue on this new track for as long as proves necessary.

“We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy.

“But this year, for all their talk of ‘red lines’, when it counted, our partners have seemed all too ready to concede our safety and risk our region’s stability.”

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