Saudi Arabia urges US airstrikes against Syrian regime

WASHINGTON, June 17 (KUNA) — Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir on Friday reiterated his country’s calls for US airstrikes against Syria’s regime of Bashar Al-Assad.
Saudi Arabia requires “a more robust policy, including air strikes, safe zones, a no fly zone, a no drive zone,” said Al-Jubeir. “We’ve been arguing for that since the beginning of the crisis,” he told reporters following talks at the White House.
The foreign minister, who is accompanying Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman on a US visit, said Saudi Arabia is open to deploying its special forces alongside the US in any operation.
Speaking from outside the Saudi Arabia’s Embassy in Washington, he also expressed the kingdom’s keenness to arming Syrian moderate opposition with ground-to-air missiles.
The remarks came after Prince Salman attended at the White House with the National Economic Council, including Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and US Trade Representative Michael Froman.
The US officials welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to economic reform and underscored the United States’ desire to be a key partner in helping Saudi Arabia implement its ambitious economic reform program, read a White House statement. Both sides agreed on the importance of economic diversification, expanding private sector employment opportunities, renewable and natural gas development, and the beneficial role US companies could play in implementing Saudi reform objectives, the statement added.
The US and Saudi Arabia intend to build on these conversations in the coming months, consistent with the strong partnership between our countries and the mutual benefit in further deepening our economic ties, it said.
Earlier, Prince Mohammad bin Salman met US President Barack Obama, who commended Saudi Arabia’s economic diversification reforms and efforts on clean energy, according to the White House.
Obama also “expressed appreciation” for Saudi Arabia’s participation in the campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS) as both senior officials discussed increased GCC support of urgent humanitarian needs for Iraq, and how Saudi Arabia can address extremist ideology.
They also agreed on a number of key issues like Syria’s ceasefire and political transition, Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to a political settlement and GCC humanitarian support, Libya’s Government of National Accord and Iran’s “destabilizing activities,” the White House earlier said. (pickup previous)