In Saudi Arabia, senior UN officials discuss regional tensions and needs

Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo/Evan Schneider (file)

5 January 2016 – Two senior United Nations officials arrived in Saudi Arabia today to discuss the effects of regional tensions on the Syrian crisis as well as ways to ensure stability and security for neighbouring countries.

Speaking at the daily press briefing in New York, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters that the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met today in Riyadh with Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, and the High Negotiation Commission of the Revolutionary Forces and the Syrian Opposition.

“Mr. de Mistura said after his meeting that there is a clear determination on the Saudi side that the current regional tensions will not have any negative impact on the Vienna momentum and on the continuation of the political process that the UN, together with the International Syria Support Group [ISSG], intend to start in Geneva soon,” noted Mr. Dujarric.

Mr. de Mistura also reportedly stressed the importance of not losing “this momentum, despite what is going on in the region.” Since the end of October, the ISSG – comprised of the Arab League, the European Union, the UN, and 17 countries – has been negotiating a solution to end the five-year conflict.

Similarly, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Sigrid Kaag, arrived in Riyadh today and met with senior officials, including the Foreign Minister and the Deputy Foreign Minister.

“This is part of her ongoing consultations with regional stakeholders to discuss Lebanon’s stability and security as well as efforts to support Lebanon’s critical humanitarian and developmental needs,” explained Mr. Dujarric.

Meanwhile, the Security Council has condemned in the strongest terms the attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran and its Consulate General in Mashhad, which it said “resulted in intrusions into the diplomatic and consular premises, causing serious damage.”

In a statement , the members of the Security Council recalled the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises, and the obligations on host Governments “to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity.”

In this context, the Council called on Iranian authorities to protect diplomatic and consular property and personnel, and to fully respect their international obligations in this regard. The Council also called on all parties to maintain dialogue and take steps to reduce tensions in the region.


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