Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir, in an exclusive interview with news channel India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, supported the UN resolutions on Kashmir, whereas spoke about the de-escalation of tensions between India and Pakistan, in an interview with NDTV.
He is part of a delegation that accompanied Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on his two day visit to India.
“We have said there are UN resolutions with regard to Kashmir that Saudi Arabia supports,” Jubeir said.
He said that his country has always encouraged both India and Pakistan to sit at the negotiating table and resolve those issues amicably, in a way that preserves the interest of Kashmiri people, and, also the interests of India and Pakistan.
“We believe where there is good will and honest dialogue a resolution to this issue can be achieved,” he said.
When asked about the alleged involvement of Pakistan in cross-border attacks, Jubeir replied that he was not sure who was responsible. “I am not aware of that,” he said.
He added that people involved in attacks should not just be blacklisted but tried and punished, and if there is evidence against the Jaish-e Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar, he must be listed as a ‘global terrorist’ at the UN.
He said that the Saudi-Pakistan joint statement, which referred to “the need for avoiding the politicisation of the UN listing regime” was not a reference to Masood Azhar.
“Our policy on listing individuals is very clear, if someone is engaged in terrorism, if someone belongs to a terror organisation that is responsible for murdering people, if somebody fiances terrorism or recruits for terrorism, that person is implicated in terrorism and ought to be punished and if you can’t capture that person, he or she has to be designated so that they cannot roam the world freely and when they are captured, they are brought to justice,” he said.
Asked if India needs to provide more evidence on the involvement of Jaish and Masood Azhar in attacks in the country, the minister said, it is an “ongoing dialogue” both with Saudi Arabia and the other members of the international community.
With regards to the listing issue, “originally it had to do with the financial issues that involve FATF and then I guess FATF was taken and it was read like this so I don’t believe that it pertains specifically to the issue that you mentioned,” he said in the interview.
Highlighting the significance for reopening of dialogue with Islamabad, the minister said, “Pakistan is an important country to Saudi Arabia and India is important to Saudi Arabia and so it pains us to see conflict between two countries that we believe to be two friendly countries. We believe that instability in this part of the world is danger to rest of the world”.
When inquired whether Saudi Arabia believes that Pakistan is doing enough to take action against those groups that operate from their territory that target India, the minister said, “I haven’t looked into this issue because that’s not what we do in the foreign ministry, we are diplomats… we are not law enforcement or security people, but I would expect that every country in the world should do everything it can to go after the terrorists”.
Earlier, Mohammad Bin Salman and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, in their joint statement on Wednesday, during the former’s visit to India, affirmed the menace of extremism and terrorism that threatened all nations and rejected any attempt to link it to a particular race, religion or culture.
While calling on other states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries, they agreed to dismantle terrorism infrastructures and and cut off any kind of financing or support to terrorists.
“To enhance further cooperation in the Counter-terrorism efforts and benefit mutually from real-time intelligence sharing, the two sides agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism,” the statement said.
Following the statement, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti observed that the crown prince ‘surely knows the art of keeping everyone happy’.