Saudi Deputy Crown Prince meets UN chief

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday

Faisal J. Abbas

Published: Updated:

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday.

The meeting was set to discuss several topics relating to Saudi Arabia and the role it could play in resolving regional crisis. Saudi sources had told Al Arabiya that the meeting was expected to "extremely positive"

Speaking to reporters at the end of meeting, Saudi ambassador to the UN Abdallah al-Mouallimi said a variety of regional topics, including Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Libya, the Kuwait talks and fighting terrorism were discussed and the results were “very well”.

Asked to comment in English about the condition of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the UN, al-Moalimi described the status as “excellent, it has always been excellent and this was reconfirmed by the Deputy Crown Prince.”

Regarding the recent disagreement between Saudi Arabia and the UN over the claims of targeting children in Yemen, the Saudi envoy said that this had been discussed and that there had been "absolute agreement" regarding it.

On the upcoming visit of Mr. Ban Ki Moon to Kuwait where he will meet with the Yemeni warring factions involved in the current peace talks, Al-Moalimi said both Saudi Arabia and the UN Secretary General are very optimistic, and that the kingdom is “supportive” of the efforts of the Secrarey General’s special envoy for the Yemen conflict, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmad.

For its part, the UN’s official readout of the meeting stated that the Secretary-General thanked Saudi Arabia for its strong political and financial support of many of the United Nations’ activities, including counter-terrorism and humanitarian work.

On Syria, the Secretary-General said he looked to Saudi Arabia to encourage all parties to support cease-fire efforts on the ground and to engage positively with his Special Envoy for Syria. He underscored that the next few weeks will be critical for the Syrian peace process.

The Secretary-General also expressed his concern about the impact of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon. In that regard, he highlighted the need to resolve the long-standing issue of the vacant Presidency in the country and called for maximum support to the Lebanese Government.

Regarding Libya, the Secretary-General said while he was encouraged that the Presidency Council has settled in Tripoli, it was also important for all Member States to help ensure that General Haftar and his army units be brought into the unified command under the Presidency Council.

On the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Secretary-General informed the Deputy Crown Prince that the Quartet’s report would soon be issued and that he hoped it would shape international consensus on how to preserve and advance a two-State solution.

Turning to Yemen, the Secretary-General thanked Saudi Arabia for supporting the political work of his Special Envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, and stressed the urgency of ending the conflict.

On the issue of protecting children and civilians in the armed conflict in Yemen, the Secretary-General and the Deputy Crown Prince discussed putting into place concrete measures that could improve the situation on the ground.

The Secretary-General expressed the hope that by the time he presents the Children and Armed Conflict report to the Security Council in August, he could point to progress on the protection of children and civilians in Yemen.

The Secretary-General said he remains open to receiving any new elements from Saudi Arabia and hoped that discussions would take place soon.