New York

04 January 2016

Readout of the Secretary-General's calls with the Foreign Ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia

The Secretary-General called today H.E. Mr. Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia. The Secretary-General also spoke by telephone with H.E. Mr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of Iran, yesterday.

Speaking to Foreign Minister Zarif, the Secretary-General recalled his statement on the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr and 46 other prisoners by Saudi Arabia on 2 January. He further recalled his condemnation of the attack at the Saudi embassy in Tehran and urged the Foreign Minister to take the necessary measures to protect diplomatic facilities in the country. 

Speaking to Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir, the Secretary-General reiterated his views on capital punishment and his disappointment over the execution of Sheikh al-Nimr, whose case he had raised with the Saudi authorities on several occasions. The Secretary-General reiterated that the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran was deplorable, but added that the announcement of a break in Saudi diplomatic relations with Tehran was deeply worrying. Regarding Yemen, the Secretary-General urged Saudi Arabia to renew its commitment to a ceasefire.

The Secretary-General urged both Foreign Ministers to avoid any actions that could further exacerbate the situation between two countries and in the region as a whole. He stressed the importance of continued constructive engagement by both countries in the interest of the region and beyond.