Saudi Arabia calls for holistic approach to counter terrorism

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Saudi Arabia has called for a holistic and comprehensive approach to deal with the threat of terrorism.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly, which had earlier heard a report on the UN international strategy to combat terrorism, Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi said the war against terrorism would be a long one and would not be confined to security measures.

“It also includes the theological aspects which are of great importance,” he said. “Based on that need, Saudi Arabia has established the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (‘Etidal’ in Arabic) which has received international praise and support and which has seen other international terror-combating entities following suit.”

“Saudi Arabia denounces all forms of terror, regardless of justifications or manifestations,” he said.

He said combating terrorism was an international responsibility that required strenuous and continuous efforts through collective work, coordination, and cooperation among countries as well as specialized centers.

Dr. Hamdan Al-Shehri, a Riyadh-based Saudi political analyst and international relations scholar, agreed with Al-Mouallimi’s assessment.

Terrorism has to be fought on multiple fronts, Al-Shehri told Arab News on Saturday.

“Countering it with security measures is one way. The other significant way is to root out deviant thoughts that have become lodged in people’s minds and led them astray,” he said.

Al-Shehri said it was important to highlight the significance of moderation in Islam.

“Saudi Arabia has opened the Etidal center precisely to highlight this significance,” he said.

“Terrorism has become a problem for everyone. It is a scourge that afflicts everyone. The whole world needs to join hands and solve the problems that spawn hopelessness among the young.”

Al-Shehri said there was a need for dialogue. “It is very sad that some people associate terrorism only with Muslims. Therefore we need to explain our point of view and the only way to do this is by dialogue.”

Meanwhile, the UAE welcomed the creation of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office and renewed its commitment to international measures aimed at eliminating terrorism.

Ahmed Al-Mahmoud, charge d’affaires at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN, emphasized his country’s determination to overcome terrorism in all its forms.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt are set to hold a joint meeting in Manama on Sunday.

According to the Bahrain News Agency, the meeting comes as a result of what was agreed upon between the foreign ministers of the four Arab countries during their meeting in Cairo on July 5 regarding the rift with Qatar.

It was agreed in Cairo to hold continuous consultations and joint coordination on the ongoing efforts to stop Qatar’s support for extremism and terrorism and stop its interfering in the internal affairs of the region’s countries.

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