Riyadh- UK ambassador to Saudi Arabia Simon Collis told Asharq Al-Awsat that the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) naming Hezbollah a terrorist organization is well-in-keep with London’s insight on the group. Britain has previously proposed before the EU recognizing Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Collis added that the GCC’s decision comes at the right time which will reinforce cooperative counterterrorism across the world.
British ambassador Collis pointed out that London was very aware of Hezbollah’s line of work and the dangers of its terrorist regional activity, specifically in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, in addition to the group’s collaboration with Iran.
Based on the aforementioned, Collis derived the assertion of a common basis existing between the UK and Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia, on counterterrorism.
Collis stressed that political relationships between Riyadh and London have reached their top state of affairs which features continuous coordination against terrorism and on all regional case files such as, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
He also stated that new files on bilateral mutual aid on security are coming up. Collis also referred that as a result of the Saudi-British cooperation, terrorist operations aiming to kill hundreds of innocent civilian lives now can be foiled. “This is a true and effective cooperation established on the basis of mutual benefit,” he added.
The presence of effective cooperation between the two countries in the defense sector was confirmed by Collis who dubbed this collaboration as “strategic long-term”. Collaborative efforts are said to include air force and naval defense, and recently increased cooperation in ground forces. UK ambassador Collis highlighted that British cooperation with the Saudi Arabian National Guard has been instigated over 40 years ago.
Britain, according to Collis, is not only significantly interested with the Saudi- led Arab coalition in Yemen, which is aiming to restore peace and legitimacy to the country, but also, despite not being a member within the coalition, supports its mission and backs with political support at the U.N. and before other institutions.
As for Syria, Collis clarified that the UK is considered to be within the group including the friends of Syria, and has offered both support and collaboration with Syria’s regional friends like Saudi Arabia. He further stressed on the necessity of committing to the recently Russian-U.S. engineered ceasefire. The truce has stopped the brutal murder of Syrian civilians which has already targeted over 400 thousand Syrians, Collis added.
The truce is an opportunity for humanitarian relief mission to advance and deliver relief aid to Syrian civilians in sieged regions, in addition to securing an appropriate atmosphere for arriving to a political solution under the sponsorship of the U.N.
Collis stated that the recent cooperation at the Geneva peace talks is anticipated to be effective in establishing competent authority and ending the war aptly.