Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef said on Wednesday that the kingdom was “one of the first” countries that suffered from terrorism, way before the deadly Sept. 11 attack in New York in 2001.
“Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries that suffered from terrorism,” Crown Prince Mohammed told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
The crown prince said in 1992, Saudi Arabia had confronted 100 terrorism operations, including 18 terrorist attacks “implemented by elements linked to regional countries,” without giving any names.
He said “before Sep. 11, Saudi Arabia had signed agreements with other Arab states to fight terrorism,” and until now it is still “waging an unrelenting war terrorist groups.”
He added: “[Saudi] is now part of 12 international agreements to fight terrorism,” and it heads in “partnership” with the United States and Italy a group combating ISIS funding.
To combat radicalism, Saudi Arabia “has launched Mohammed bin Nayef Counseling and Care Center and its top clerics have been issuing religious edicts prohibiting terrorism or joining terror groups.”
Saudi Arabia “was one of the first countries that denounced September 11,” attacks which killed almost 3,000 people.
“The security apparatus in Saudi Arabia has foiled 268 terrorist operations, including operations against friendly states,” he said.
He said Saudi was “puzzled”, alongside the international community, over the Congress passing a bill that will allow Sept. 11 families to sue Riyadh since the majority of the 18 hijackers behind the 2001 tragic attack were Saudis.
As the White House is trying to press on Congress not to approve the bill, US President Barack Obama has till Sept. 23 to veto the law if passed.
The crown prince reiterated the Saudi stance that if the law is passed it will violate international law.
He said combating terrorism should be a “joint international responsibility…we call for cooperation as per the international law and principles on which the UN was built, which equates the sovereignty of all nations.”
Islamic military alliance
The crown prince also called on the international community to cooperate with the 40-member Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT), which was formed in late 2015.
He also urged the UN to include IMAFT under its “umbrella” after Saudi Arabia funneled $110 million into the alliance to beef it up.
The crown prince also urged Iran to exercise a ‘Good Neighbor policy’ and not interfere in the internal affairs of regional countries.
He also accused Iran of not offering “enough protection as per international agreements” after protesters stormed both the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad in January this year.
The storming of the Saudi embassy and consulate has led Riyadh to sever ties with Tehran soon after the incidents.
Meanwhile, the crown prince also stressed that the Middle East should be free of nuclear arms and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), and urged for launching an international conference to make this objective a reality in a clear message to Israel, which observers speculate has a 200-warhead stockpile.
He also denounced the Israeli aggression on Palestinians and urged for a two-state solution with Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine.
He urged a political solution for Syria and the implementation of Geneva I accord, which stipulates a transitional government.
In Yemen, he reiterated the Saudi position over UN resolution 2216 requiring the Iran-backed Houthis militias and their allies to withdraw from areas they occupied in 2014.
He also said the Houthis continue to attack Saudi borders, using ballistic missiles.
In a separate remark, the crown prince rejected the misuse of freedom of expression against religions.