Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Friday that Saudi Arabia supports Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield in northern Syria.
“We support what Turkey is doing nowadays in Syria, I do believe that the aims of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the region are almost the same,” Al-Jubeir told a panel on Turkish-Saudi relations held at the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Turkey’s capital Ankara.
Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield began on Aug. 24 when the Syrian-opposition Free Syrian Army, backed by the Turkish military, liberated Jarabulus in northern Syria.
“We stand with any move that helps to eliminate the ISIS terrorist organization from Syria, and anywhere else in the region,” he added.
Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been partners and allies for decades. “We have very strong economic ties, investment ties, and person-to-person ties,” he stated.
“Today we are working very closely on the Syrian crisis and we support the moderate opposition there. We are working very closely towards pushing back sectarianism and sectarian policies in the region,” he added.
“Turkish people have earned the respect of the world. I think Turkey should be proud of its citizens,” he stated.
On cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia in eliminating any Gulen movement networks in the Gulf or Saudi Arabia, al-Jubeir said, “We have very extensive cooperation with Turkey when it comes to counter-terrorism and law enforcement. And we have extensive exchanges of information between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.”
According to Anadalou news agency, speaking on Syria affairs, Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom has been working with a number of countries to support the moderate Syrian opposition, and endorse a political process which leads to political transition.
“We believe that this political process should be based on UN [Security Council] Resolution 2254.”
“We believe that Assad has no future in Syria, as the presence of [regime leader] Bashar al-Assad is the magnet that attracts terrorists to Syria, and that if we want to be able to defeat terrorism, we need to remove this magnet,” Adel al-Jubeir added.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the regime of Bashar al-Assad cracked down protests – which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings – with unexpected ferocity.
On Saudi-Iranian ties, al-Jubeir said, “Saudi Arabia would like to cooperate and trade with Iran as a neighbor country – we have offered our hand to Iran many times before – but unfortunately it was rejected by the Iranian side.”
“Iran continues to behave as a sectarian state, not a nation-state. Iran continues to support terrorist organizations in Lebanon, Yemen, and Syria,” he said.
“The evidence that Iran supports terrorism in the region is overwhelming. Therefore Iran has to respect International law and the neighborhood rules.”
As for the war in Yemen, al-Jubeir said, “The official Saudi position stands with the moves done by the United Nations to resolve the conflict in Yemen, and we advocate Resolution 2216 on Yemen, which calls for ending the use of violence in the country.”
Yemen has been wracked by chaos since late 2014, when Iran-backed Houthis and their allies overran the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.