Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal al Saud said in a newspaper interview published Saturday in Buenos Aires' daily Infobae that “Argentina is our friend and ally, that will not change at the IMF.” The diplomat thus did not rule out a handout to reinforce Argentina's Central Bank's reserves.
During his stay in Buenos Aires, Faisal bin Farhan al Saud also underscored the importance to fight terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and stand up to all forms of violence in the new world context.
Al Saud was born in Germany and educated in the United States. He was made foreign minister after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which damaged South Arabia's international reputation.
The diplomat's trip to Argentina was aimed at enhancing bilateral ties as well as Arab investments to secure food supplies for his country, Infobae said. Saudi Arabia, South Africa and India, supported Argentina's statements at the G20 Summit in Rome despite resistance from Australia, Germany and Canada.
Al Saud Saturday had lunch with his Argentine counterpart Santiago Cafiero, with whom he discussed the IMF, Hezbollah, COVID-19 and Climate Change in accordance to guidelines stemming from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
We have a very strong bilateral relationship with Argentina. A relationship that is based on values and common views, not only in the G-20, but also in other multilateral organizations. We also have a very strong business relationship. One that is growing, and we are looking for opportunities to increase it. There are very active companies from Saudi Arabia in Argentina and there are Argentine companies active in Saudi Arabia, in the sectors of food safety, biotechnology and other areas. We discussed all of these issues during our visit, Al Saud told Infobae.
Regarding COVID-19, the diplomat explained that we believe very strongly that no one is safe until we are all safe and that we will not be able to overcome the coronavirus pandemic completely until all countries have free and fair access to vaccines. It is very necessary that rich countries strengthen support for those who cannot. The Kingdom donated US $ 500 million to the COVAX program. And we certainly ask all those who can, to double down on their efforts because now we are seeing a new variant that is coming. And we will continue to see this until we can have high levels of vaccination around the world. It is very important that we give priority to the poorest countries around the world, be it in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, which still do not have full access.
Asked about vaccination certificates, the Saudi official replied that we must all protect our countries. It is absolutely valid that in an emergency of this type, at times we temporarily close our borders until we handle the situation. Especially when we see a new variant where we do not know exactly the effect of the available vaccines. But again, I want to emphasize, the most important thing is that we all work together, rich countries especially, to make sure everyone has access to vaccines. Unless we do that, we will not have an effective response. Closing borders may be necessary, but it will only be a temporary measure because we need our open borders for trade to flow, for communications to continue. So that we can not only overcome the medical effects of the pandemic, but also the economic ones. Therefore, we must focus on building resilience.
The diplomat also said we are concerned about negative Iranian activity in the region. We are in a dialogue with Iran. Those talks have come to no conclusion because so far the Iranians have not spoken on the issues that concern us most. But we will continue to chat in the hope that we can make a breakthrough and focus on the security and prosperity of our region. Our philosophy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is stability and security.
Foreign Minister Faisal Al Saud also addressed climate change: Saudi Arabia is promoting, supporting initiatives that have to do with climate change, and at the same time they are a power in the production and export of oil. How will they resolve in the future this apparent contradiction of supporting climate change and continuing to be the main export?oil lovers around the world? What we have to do is manage the transition, he said, but he also admitted that oil and gas will continue to play a role for decades to come.