S&Ds stress dialogue alone can diffuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia
Following today's discussion in the European Parliament on the situation in Saudi Arabia and Iran, S&D vice-president for foreign affairs Victor Boştinaru MEP said:
"The recent diplomatic rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a deeply worrying development. The tensions that have been simmering for years have reached a point where all actions are highly politically charged. While instability across the region is likely to continue or even increase, the two sides are actively exploiting – and accusing each other of exploiting – proxies and sectarian tensions. This political strategy resonates deeply in the region and has dramatic implications.
"Our Group condemns the use of death penalty in all cases, including in both Saudi Arabia and Iran.
"The only way forward now is for them to sit and discuss their points of view. This is where their western allies should play a role – the EU should not choose sides but push for dialogue! We have to ensure that direct war will not break out.
"Special efforts should be made to ensure that the Saudi-Iranian confrontation does not derail the fragile progress achieved in the Vienna peace talks on Syria, to which both countries are parties and which led to the UN Security Council adopting resolution 2254 endorsing the roadmap and timetable for peace talks and eventual transition."
Richard Howitt MEP, S&D foreign affairs coordinator and European Parliament Rapporteur for Iran said:
"We welcome the efforts of the EU's high-representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, to reach out to both sides and de-escalate tensions. Only inclusive security architecture in the Middle East which respects the legitimate security interests of all sides can guarantee stability and peace in the region.
"In this context, we strongly welcome the start of the implementation of the nuclear agreement between the international community and Iran, and the lifting of sanctions against Iran. The S&D Group has pioneered efforts to engage with Iran since the election of President Hassan Rouhani in 2013. We are pleased to see that these collective efforts are now bearing fruit. The opportunity needs to be used to engage constructively with Iran on the crises in Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Saudi Arabia also needs to be engaged. But it is essential Riyadh pursues a serious crackdown on financial and ideological support for terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda and Daesh from within the kingdom."