Remarks With Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir

John Kerry
Secretary of State
New York Palace Hotel
New York City
September 26, 2015

QUESTION: Iran says that Saudi Arabia is – bears responsibility for the deaths of so many people at Mecca. What do you say in response? Do either of you think Saudi Arabia blames – bears any responsibility for what happened?

FOREIGN MINISTER JUBEIR: I think the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has directed to launch a thorough investigation that will be transparent. I believe that the Iranians should know better than to try to make – play politics with a tragic event that has befallen people who were performing the most sacred religious duty, which is the pilgrimage. We, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, have a long history of expending tremendous resources to care for the pilgrimage and to ensure that the pilgrims can come and have an extremely successful pilgrimage.

We will reveal the facts when they emerge, and we will not hold anything back. If mistakes were made, we will – those who made them will be held accountable, and we will make sure that we will learn from this in order to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. But I want to repeat again, this is not a situation with which to play politics. I would hope that the Iranian leaders would be more sensible and more thoughtful with regards to those who perished in this tragedy and wait until we see the results of the investigation.

QUESTION: Your Excellency, the relationship between Saudi --

SECRETARY KERRY: Folks, we’re not doing a press conference. (Inaudible.)

STAFF: Thank you. Thank you. Let’s go.

SECRETARY KERRY: Let me just answer. I wanted to say that for United States, we express our deep condolences to all of the families and loved ones who lost their family members during the course of this tragedy. It is obviously an enormous tragedy, and it’s such a special and extraordinary event. The hajj at its most holy moment has now obviously had this extraordinary tragedy occur, and I think all of us are really focused on the loss of life and not on pointing fingers. I think the foreign minister has spoken to what Saudi Arabia will do, its enormous responsibility – for years and years they’ve exercised great care and judgment in its execution.

So really, I think it’s important to focus on taking care of the families and those who’ve lost loved ones, and I’m confident that the minister has spoken to the accountability that Saudi Arabia will engage in.