Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference with Minister of Foreign Affairs Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud (Excerpts)

October 3, 2021

Related Country: 

  • Saudi Arabia
  • European Union
  • Yemen

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We appreciated a lot that the Al Ula Summit put an end to the Gulf internal crisis and we welcome the recent bilateral talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

In this context, I shared my observations, as Coordinator of the JCPOA – the nuclear deal with Iran - I briefed my partners, especially the Minister, on the prospects of restarting Vienna talks about the nuclear deal with Iran - I hope soon.
We have also exchanged views about Afghanistan and discussed the situation in the neighbouring Yemen. What is happening in Yemen is a terrible tragedy for the people there and it has also impact on the whole region. We appreciate Saudi Arabia’s efforts aimed at ending the fighting and I condemned the cross border attacks against the Kingdom’s territory. And I also have to mention the reluctance of the Houthis in order to build a ceasefire that we have been asking for.

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Q&A

Q. There are talks about the forthcoming round of the negotiations with Iran. When will the next round will start with Iran? Did you find cooperation from the Iranian side? Regarding the nuclear programme, the Gulf countries in the region ask to be involved in the Iranian negotiations since they all live in the same region and [could be affected by] the destabilising Iranian activities and the Iranian missile programme. What is the position of the EU involving them in these negotiations?

I can compliment your answer, Minister [for Foreign Affairs, Faisal bin Farhad Al Saud]. As Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), I am employing all my energy and my team in order to make these negotiations successful. I hope that the negotiations in Vienna will restart soon with a new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iran, [Hossein Amir-Abdollahian]. We talked about it in New York, and the answer was positive although without a concrete date. But time is running and it is urgent that these negotiations resume. I understand Iran needs time to study the file, but the other participants of the JCPOA are becoming worried by the delay. We have to use this opportunity to call on the Iranians to go back to the negotiations quickly. I understand how important these negotiations are important for the region and particularly for Saudi Arabia.

I understand your concern because it is an important cornerstone for your security. But not only for your security, also for the security of the broader Middle East, but also for Europeans, for ourselves, and for the whole world. There is a big difference between Iran becoming [a] nuclear [power] or not becoming [a] nuclear [power]. Thanks to this deal, I think that we have avoided Iran becoming [a] nuclear [power] and we have to go back to diplomatic channels to avoid this from happening. The region is not directly involved in the negotiations, because the negotiations are between Iran on one side and international community -represented by a certain number of countries, among them three European countries, [on the other side]. My role is just the role of Coordinator, trying to put these two parts –Iran, on one side, and the international community, on the other side- together. And on these negotiations, even if Saudi Arabia and the countries in the region are not directly sitting in the negotiation table, their concerns and their worries will be taking very much into consideration.

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