Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said on Monday he was optimistic about the incoming US administration especially the way it wanted to restore American influence in the world, contain Iran and fight Daesh.
“We are optimistic about the incoming administration and look forward to working with it in all areas that are a concern for both of us,” Al-Jubeir told reporters in Paris.
“We will look at the Trump administration’s view as articulated. Wanting to restore America’s role in the world, we welcome this. Wanting to defeat ISIS, absolutely. Wanting to contain Iran … absolutely.”
Al-Jubeir said the interests of Saudi Arabia were aligned with those of the US — be it geopolitically, in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran; or on energy and financial issues.
“The objectives we want to achieve are the same. We may have disagreements on how to get there, but we do not disagree on what needs to be done, and that will not change,” he said.
When asked specifically about Riyadh’s relationship with Iran, Al-Jubeir accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.
“Our relationship with Iran is tense and it is in function of its aggressive and hostile policies. It would be wonderful to live in peace and harmony with Iran, but it takes two to tango,” Al-Jubeir said, speaking in English.
“We cannot be subject to death and destruction and expect to turn the other cheek. We tried, but it did not work.”
Al-Jubeir added that proposed talks in the Kazakh capital Astana aimed at reaching a cease-fire in Syria were worth testing, but should not be construed as Riyadh abandoning moderate opposition groups fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
“The objective is to arrive at a cease-fire and move on to the political process. Let us test it. So far it has not succeeded,” he said. “If it does, then we go down the political path, but that does not mean we abandon the moderate opposition.”
He also said that Britain’s decision to leave the EU would not have an impact on Riyadh’s relationship with London or the bloc.