Washington – Saudi Arabia’s permanent Ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Mouallimi announced on Friday that US President Donald Trump’s choice of the kingdom as the first stop in his first international tour since his election “demonstrates the importance of bolstering ties between the two countries and the Arab and Muslim worlds.”
He added that Saudi-American ties will grow stronger under the Trump leadership, stressing that these relations are already strong and based on solid foundations.
Trump had on more than one occasion expressed his appreciation for the role Riyadh is playing in the region and voiced his backing for efforts in several issues, al-Mouallimi noted during a statement while attending a seminar on terrorism held in Washington.
Moreover, the ambassador noted that Saudi Arabia shares with Trump his view that Iran’s actions in the region should stop and they it should be confronted.
He also underlined the need for Islamic states to confront terrorism through more effective and creative means, adding that the upcoming summit between the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Trump will serve as an opportunity to exchange ideas.
Addressing terrorism, the ambassador remarked: “The kingdom has long realized that the war to defeat terror will take a long time. A victory should take place on a large international scale and the kingdom is aware that defeating terrorism will not only occur on the field, but in gaining the hearts and minds of the people throughout the country.”
He highlighted Saudi Arabia’s efforts to target the sources of funding of terrorism from within and outside of the kingdom, noting that terrorism is not affiliated with any race or religion.
Meanwhile, Saudi Interior Ministry’s Khaled al-Zahrani, who also took part in the Washington seminar, said that the kingdom has since 1979 been the victim of 335 terrorist attacks that left 159 foreigners dead and 1,047 wounded. A total of 338 citizens were killed and 1,288 injured in these assaults.
The security forces have thwarted 229 attacks.
He noted that terror attacks are on the rise in the kingdom, “but they are being met with an increased determination to confront and defeat them.”
The kingdom’s counter-terrorism policy is based on security and intellectual confrontations, he explained.
This strategy has paid dividends whereby the number of Saudis carrying terror attacks has dropped. He credited this achievement to the government’s successful efforts in raising awareness among the citizens on the dangers of terrorism and extremism. Al-Zahrani acknowledged however that the number of foreign terrorists is on the rise.
“Saudi Arabia is not seeking applause for its counter-terrorism efforts, but it wants more listeners. Its experience in fighting terrorism is not complete, but other countries should learn from it,” he added.