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Saudi Arabia is Ready to Participate on the Ground in Syria and Washington Responds - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Right to left: Cameron, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, Merkel, Solberg and Ban Ki-Moon at the donors' conference for Syria in London yesterday (Reuters)

Right to left: Cameron, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad, Merkel, Solberg and Ban Ki-Moon at the donors’ conference for Syria in London yesterday (Reuters)

The Saudi military adviser to the defence minister Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri announced that Saudi Arabia is ready to participate in any ground operations that the international coalition against ISIS may agree on undertaking in Syria. Asiri said in an interview with the Arabic news channel Al Arabiya yesterday that “If the leaders of the international coalition unanimously decide to undertake operations of this kind, then the kingdom is ready to participate in these efforts”.

The US Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter immediately said that “we will discuss (the Saudi announcement of participation in a ground operation in Syria) in Brussels soon”.

In the meantime, world leaders pledged more than $10 billion to help refugees and displaced people affected by the Syrian crisis at the Syrian donor conference which was held in London yesterday. Donors earmarked $5.6 billion for the fulfilment of necessities in 2016 and $5.1 billion for the period between 2017 and 2020. The British Prime Minister David Cameron said that this is “the largest amount of money ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis” at a press conference that Asharq Al-Awsat reporters attended.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II called for a new and comprehensive approach that features long term targets and criticised what he described as “the traditional approach” that focusses on fulfilling the temporary needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries.

The Emir of Kuwait Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah said that the humanitarian tragedy in Syria will not end until a “political solution that injects blood and restores stability to our world” is reached.

A number of leaders unanimously held the Syrian regime responsible for the suspension of Geneva 3 talks on Wednesday. The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said the sudden increase in airstrikes and military activity in Syria has undermined the peace talks. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that “All interested parties have a responsibility for agreeing a ceasefire in Syria, but the regime of President Bashar al-Assad is responsible above all”.

In Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir attributed the suspension of the Geneva 3 negotiations to the Syrian regime that is “postponing finding a political solution to end the crisis” in the country. Al-Jubeir made these comments at a press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier and revealed that the “Vienna group” will hold talks in Munich next week “to put the Syrian crisis on the right track”.

Steinmeier’s statements agree with this and he said that recent military escalation on the part of the Syrian regime led to the UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s proposal to suspend the talks.