UN condemns attempt to assassinate Saudi ambassador to the United States

Saudi ambassador: We’re here to say ‘enough terrorism and assassinations’ and we don’t seek any insult against Iran

Saudi Arabia expresses concern over maritime piracy operations

The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution Friday deploring the alleged plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States and pointed a finger at Iran.

The 193-member world body didn’t directly accuse Iran of involvement, but it called on the Islamic Republic to comply with international law requiring protection of diplomats and to cooperate in bringing those responsible for the assassination plot to justice.

The United States alleged in October that agents linked to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard were involved in a plot to kill Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir at his favorite restaurant in Washington. It has charged a U.S. citizen who holds an Iranian passport and an Iranian described as a member of an elite Revolutionary Guard unit, who is still at large.

Iran, which has vehemently denied any involvement and called the allegations “laughable,” tried to have all references to the Islamic Republic removed from the Saudi-sponsored resolution. But it received support from less than a dozen countries, and its attempts to amend the Saudi draft were defeated.

The General Assembly then approved the resolution by a vote of 106-9, with 40 abstentions. Those joining Iran in voting “no” were Armenia, Bolivia, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Zambia.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice hailed the vote, saying it showed that “Iran is increasingly isolated,” and noting that not one of the eight countries that joined Tehran in opposing the resolution was a predominantly Islamic or Arab nation.

“The world came together in a very strong message that diplomats and the work we do are sacrosanct,” she said. “We all deserve protection and the ability to do the work of the state without fear or threat of violence. And today the members of the General Assembly delivered that message very forcefully.”

The White House said the United States, one of about 60 co-sponsors of the resolution, “will continue to work closely with our allies and partners around the world to ensure that Iran understands that such outrageous acts only deepen Iran’s isolation.”

General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding — unlike Security Council resolutions — but they do reflect world opinion.

It was highly unusual for Saudi Arabia to sponsor a resolution, but Saudi Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi told the assembly before the vote that the time had come to say “enough terrorism, enough of attacking diplomats.”

The resolution “deplores” the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, “strongly condemns” acts of violence against diplomats and diplomatic missions, and calls on all states to prevent the planning, financing and commission of similar “terrorist acts” on their territory.

Al-Mouallimi stressed that the resolution didn’t “accuse or condemn any party” but mentioned Iran because the country was mentioned in the confession of Manssor Arbabsiar, who subsequently pleaded not guilty.

He challenged Iran to “prove its innocence if it is not involved in this plot.”

A U.S. criminal complaint accused Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, who the U.S. said was a member of Iran’s elite Quds Force, of hiring a would-be assassin in Mexico. That man was also a paid informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who told U.S. authorities the details of the plot, which led to the arrest of Arbabsiar and charges against Shakuri.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the Middle East’s two most powerful rivals and their mudslinging has grown more intense amid the Arab Spring uprisings. Mideast analysts have expressed concern that it could veer into crisis mode over the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi envoy.

Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said that he would support the resolution — if all references to the Islamic Republic were stripped out.

Khazaee “categorically rejected the involvement of any Iranian officials or agencies in the alleged plot” and said the resolution was based on “an unsubstantiated claim” by the U.S., which has a long history of animosity against his country.

He argued that the resolution prejudged the outcome of the case.

The United States of America welcomed the overwhelming vote of the United Nations General Assembly last night on a resolution submitted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on condemning terrorist attacks on internationally protected persons.

A statement issued by the White House Spokesman said, 'The United States welcomes the strong vote by the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution deploring the assassination plot against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States. The widespread support for this resolution, which was co-sponsored by UN members from all regions of the world, sends a strong message to the Iranian government that the international community will not tolerate the targeting of diplomats. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners around the world to ensure that Iran understands that such outrageous acts only deepen Iran's isolation'.

On her part, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a press statement that the United Nations General Assembly sent a strong message to the Iranian regime that the international community will not tolerate attacks on diplomats.

The statement added that the targeting of diplomats from other countries does not represent a threat to that State only, but it is a threat to the global system.'

Hillary Clinton said 'I would like to thank the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on drafting the resolution and rallying support for it, which was co-sponsored by 60 countries from all regions of the world.'

She noted that the resolution condemns the assassination plot and calls on Iran to comply with its obligations according to the international law.

The U.S. Secretary of State called on Iran to cooperate to bring to justice those who organized and planned the assassination attempt.

The statement emphasized that the resolution of the UN General Assembly will increase the isolation of the Iranian regime as a result of its defiance of the international community and its repeated failures to fulfill its obligations under international law, indicating that the United Nations has made clear that its patience is running out of empty promises, dangerous manners and ongoing threats.

Meanwhile, in New York the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expressed its growing concern about the phenomenon of maritime piracy, its negative impacts on the international maritime navigation, and its implications on maritime security, including the movement of goods between continents and international trade.

Addressing the 10th meeting of International Contact Group for Combating Maritime Piracy Off Somalia's Coast at United Nations in New York with the participation of delegations from more than 100 countries and international organizations, the Head of Saudi Arabia's Delegation to the meeting and Minister Plenipotentiary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mohammed bin Ibrahim Al-Aqeel confirmed the Kingdom's vision in supporting the political process in Somalia to achieve security and stability which is the best way for the international community to eliminate this phenomenon and other phenomena being witnessed by Somalia.

He said that the elimination of piracy is considered an international affair so that countries should combine their efforts to combat it and regional and international powers should cooperate among themselves to take joint and effective actions for its elimination in the light of the resolutions issued by the United Nations Security Council, which is the international reference to combat piracy, with respect to the principle of sovereignty of States over their territorial waters.

The Minister Plenipotentiary added that in this framework, all international and regional initiatives to combat piracy must be made in response to the resolutions of the UN Security Council, including the establishment of United Nations Trust Fund to support the legal process to combat the phenomenon, which requires international support for its success.

The Minister Plenipotentiary said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in confirmation of its commitment to eradicating this phenomenon, has participated actively in the meetings of International Contact Group and its working teams, as well as the meetings held in Djibouti, which were organized by the International Maritime Organization for the discussion of signing of regional Memorandum of Understanding on Anti-Piracy including the countries bordering the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden.

He pointed out that the Memorandum adopted Djibouti Code of Conduct signed by the Kingdom through which the Kingdom has contributed to the establishment of Djibouti and Sana'a Centers for training cadres, noting that the Kingdom has recently provided $ 100,000 to support Djibouti Code Fund for the suppression of piracy and armed robbery.

Al-Aqeel reported that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has launched an initiative to convene a regional meeting of officials from the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and states bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden for the discussion of an action plan for countering the threat of piracy and coordination with the international naval forces operating in the region, adding that the Kingdom has hosted the meetings of the officials of the concerned countries for the discussion of this topic, in addition to its participation in the recent meetings of the Maritime Forum of the Indian Ocean and its workshops.

The Head of Saudi Delegation pointed to the active role played by the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and their contributions to naval vessels to combat piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea to protect commercial ships in coordination with the multinational forces in the region, adding that the Royal Saudi Naval Forces have achieved many successes in that regard through the protection and rescue of many commercial ships from pirate attacks, a matter which has earned the crews of Saudi eight ships participating in international forces in the Gulf of Aden, a number of certificates of appreciation from the International Maritime Organization.