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UN relief chief and Saudi king discuss closer cooperation in humanitarian field

UN relief chief and Saudi king discuss closer cooperation in humanitarian field

The top United Nations relief official and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah have held talks today in Riyadh, discussing how the world body and the Middle East country can pursue ways to strengthen their partnership in the humanitarian field.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes thanked King Abdullah for the commitment shown by Saudi Arabia in supporting humanitarian efforts in the region and elsewhere, according to a press release issued by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“I was deeply impressed by the commitment of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques to humanitarian causes throughout the world and look forward to taking further the dialogue we have begun with the Saudi authorities in the weeks and months to come,” the Under-Secretary-General said.

Mr. Holmes and Abdul Aziz Arrukban, the UN Special Humanitarian Envoy of the Secretary-General based in the Gulf region, also met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud today. Their talks focused on improving the response to crises worldwide, particularly given the impact of climate change and the recent spike in global food prices.

In addition, Mr. Holmes and Prince Saud al Faisal agreed to enhance the cooperation mechanisms between the UN – including OCHA and the Saudi Government, the Gulf Cooperation Council and local civil society organizations.

The visit to Saudi Arabia is the first stop of a four-country visit to the Persian Gulf region by Mr. Holmes. He is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar as well.