Creation of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center a major step forward in the two countries’ ability to disrupt terror financing, says Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of Treasury
Kingdom is well-positioned to build a new economy with the help of Vision 2030, US official says
RIYADH, October 25, 2017 – Steven Mnuchin, US Secretary of Treasury, hailed the Saudi-US cooperation against terrorism as he addressed a plenary session of the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Tackling the theme “Partners For progress: How to build economy 2.0”, Mnuchin called the Kingdom “one of our most important partners in countering financing of terrorism”.
He said that the creation of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center was a major step forward in the two countries’ ability to disrupt the finances and operations of terrorist organisations.
He explained that the United States had designated individuals and entities tied to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Iran’s ballistic missile programme as sponsors of terrorism. He also said that during his visit to other countries in the region this week, he would discuss with them the opportunities to work together to counter Iran’s threatening activities. “This would include taking aggressive actions against Hizbollah whose main benefactor is Iran,” Mnuchin said. “Hizbollah was posing a threat to the Middle East and beyond and we must jointly use our authorities to disrupt its financiers and financial networks.”
The US official pointed out that with the support of Saudi Arabia and other regional allies, the United States had been able to curtail charities that finance Al Qaeda. “We have issued joined designations with Saudi Arabia targeting the fundraising networks of Al Qaeda, Hizbollah, the Taliban and Lashkar e-Tayyiba.” He said that the US would continue to look to Saudi Arabia to be a leader on these issues in the Gulf.
He mentioned that America has announced new sanctions on nine individuals and entities on Wednesday that finance and facilitate terrorism and are actively supporting violence in Yemen. At the same time, Saudi State Security has designated two entities and 11 leaders, financiers and supporters of Al Qaeda and ISIS as terrorists in its effort to tackle extremism and curb terror financing.
“We coordinated this action with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, who designated these advocates of terror under their own domestic authorities,” Mnuchin said. Terming America’s partnership with its regional allies as the “largest-ever multilateral designation in the Middle East,” he said that this bold and innovative multilateral approach was needed as terrorism poses a threat to all nations. “It is critical that we come together to combat this menace,” he said.
Mnuchin said that the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center would draw on experience, tools and the expertise of the member countries and would primarily focus on disrupting the financial and support networks that enable terrorists.
He praised the leadership demonstrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, adding that Saudi Arabia’s efforts as co-chair and host of the center have been and will continue to be instrumental in ensuring its success. “The center,” he said, “will be a catalyst for additional multilateral actions against terror financiers. It will be a place where member countries will come together to share information and benefit from the lessons we have learnt in fighting against these common threats.”
Talking about Vision 2030, Mnuchin noted that the Kingdom was well-positioned to build this new economy. “Vision 2030 will shift the focus of the economy of Saudi Arabia and its future economic prospects by investing in new industries, new education and delivering new skills needed for the 21st century,” he said.
He underlined that many of the reforms that have already been launched, such as capital markets development, the reduction of subsidies, improved regulations and better delivery of government services, are the foundation of a more diverse and inclusive growth.
He praised Saudi Arabia’s monetary authority as an “excellent steward of the economy, banking sector and currency issues,” which he said were key elements to attracting sustainable and capital investment. He pointed out that new sources of growth in government revenue will help Saudi Arabia to diversify its economy away from oil.
Saudi Arabia, he said, is in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities the 21st century has presented the worlds. “It is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities by inducting more women into the workforce,” he said.
Welcoming the Kingdom’s initiatives, Mnuchin said that the US strongly supported the Kingdom’s efforts to advance its reforms. “We look forward to a continued and accelerating momentum” of cooperation, he said.