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Saudi opening of airspace to all airlines ‘not a prelude’ to other steps: UN envoy

UNITED NATIONS: Saudi Arabia’s “constant and firm” support of the Palestinian people won’t change “even when we allow the crossing of international flights over our airspace,” said the Kingdom’s deputy everlasting representative to the UN.

Mohammed Abdulaziz Alateek added that Saudi Arabia’s opening of its airspace to all carriers that meet the overflight requirements of its aviation authority is according to the Kingdom’s international obligations and never “a prelude to other steps.”

During a UN Security Council meeting to debate the Middle East, Alateek told council members and a bunch of country representatives that Saudi Arabia stays committed to the “constant principles” of ending Israeli occupation, establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, and guaranteeing the fitting of return for Palestinian refugees.

“The Kingdom will proceed to face with the Palestinian people,” he said. “We reaffirm the importance of a comprehensive and lasting peace within the Middle East as a strategic selection to finish one in every of the longest and most complex conflicts in our modern history, based on the two-state solution, and according to international terms of reference, in addition to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative which guarantees the establishment of a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, the return of refugees, and ending Israeli occupation of all Arab territories including the Syrian Arab Golan and Lebanese territories.”

Alateek urged the UNSC and the international community to “shoulder their responsibilities” by helping the Palestinians achieve their aspirations to an independent state and by addressing “ongoing Israeli violations of international law and Security Council resolutions.”

The Middle East’s long history of conflict and instability has rendered it more vulnerable to the opposed impact of challenges reminiscent of pandemics, said Alateek, who reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s belief that regional and international cooperation are key to confronting such common woes.

This belief was behind the choice to carry the July 16 Jeddah Security and Development Summit, whose outcomes included a commitment to the safety and stability of Yemen, and support for UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg’s efforts to strengthen and extend the present truce for the second time, said Alateek.

“Houthi militias must abide by the truce,” he added. “They need to stop exploiting the suffering of Yemeni civilians. They need to open humanitarian corridors in Taiz.”

Keeping the Middle East freed from weapons of mass destruction was one other consensus reached by Arab participants on the summit.

“We also need to stop the funding, arming and recruitment of terrorist groups by some countries within the region,” said Alateek.

He concluded by condemning last week’s attack on Dohuk in northern Iraq, and said Saudi Arabia will stand with Iraq in confronting challenges to its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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