By Arab News
By Ibrahim Naffee
Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday urged GCC states to mobilize their resources to help Syrians defend themselves against President Bashar Assad’s regime.
Speaking at a meeting of the GCC Ministerial Council, Prince Saud called on GCC countries to “to use their resources to … enable the Syrian people to defend themselves against the murderous and destructive machine of the government.”
“The killing and torture of civilians has continued,” said the minister, adding that the GCC must find a “quick solution to this crisis.”
The prince denounced the regime’s oppressive practices against its people. “We have started losing hope in finding a solution for the Syria crisis within the framework of the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan,” he said.
He expressed the hope that Russia, being an influential international player, would contribute to a regime change.
On Iran’s nuclear program, he said it has increased threats to the Gulf region and urged Tehran to cooperate with world powers to defuse tension. “For sure, the Iranian nuclear program has escalated the threat level in the region … So it is dangerous…,” he told reporters.
“We hope Iran, with all kinds of threats coming from it, changes its policy to protect a region that is Iran’s (as well). I can not imagine Iran becoming the reason for the destruction of this region because it will be the biggest loser.”
Talks last month between Iran and six world powers over its nuclear ambitions ended without an agreement but the sides decided to reconvene in Moscow on June 18-19 in another effort to bridge the longstanding dispute.
“This requires greater cooperation from Iran with the international group,” Prince Saud said. “We hope that Iran stops its nuclear program and reassures the region’s states.”
Prince Saud also criticized Iran over what he called its occupation of three strategic Gulf islands that are also claimed by the United Arab Emirates. “There is a big crisis now in the Gulf caused by Iran’s occupation of the UAE islands and … threats in general,” he said.
Prince Saud also called on GCC member states to provide urgently needed economic aid to Yemen, where a yearlong uprising had plunged the already impoverished nation into a dire humanitarian crisis. Saudi Arabia has already pledged $ 3.2 billion in financial assistance to Yemen, a commitment the Kingdom made at a Friends of Yemen meeting in Riyadh last month.