The Elders

Press release

The Elders hold talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders on regional security

On their first official visit to Saudi Arabia, The Elders welcomed domestic reforms, and urged meaningful dialogue with its neighbours to resolve regional security crises.

"It is time for key stakeholders across the Middle East to take responsibility for conflict resolution in the region.” – Lakhdar Brahimi

Also available in العربية

The Elders in Saudi Arabia
Lakhdar Brahimi, Martti Ahtisaari, Ernesto Zedillo and Kofi Annan meet with Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif and HRH King Salman bin Abdulaziz in Saudi Arabia in February 2018

The Elders welcomed Saudi Arabia’s impressive social and economic reforms, and urged a comparable level of commitment towards establishing meaningful dialogue with its neighbours, notably Iran, to resolve regional security crises including Yemen.

On their first official visit to the Kingdom as Elders, Kofi Annan, Martti Ahtisaari, Lakhdar Brahimi and Ernesto Zedillo held talks in Riyadh with HRH King Salman bin Abdulaziz that focused on the broad geopolitical and security environment in the Middle East and the “Vision 2030” domestic reform agenda.

Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General, said:

“We applaud the vision and ambition of these reforms. Comparable ambition is needed to try to resolve the conflicts and tensions scarring the wider Middle East, from Yemen to Syria, Palestine and also Qatar. The key interlocutor is Iran, and I urge both countries to put aside suspicions and grievances to talk and work together in the best interests of both their peoples.”

The Elders welcomed the rapid pace of social change in Saudi Arabia in recent months, particularly the easing of restrictions on the rights and role of women in society. They noted though that the reforms would only prove successful if Saudi Arabia enjoyed peace and security with all its neighbours.

Lakhdar Brahimi, Elder, former Algerian Foreign Minister and UN diplomat, added:

“Saudi Arabia is transforming its own society at an impressive pace. This wave of change offers an opportunity for all countries in the region to pursue a fresh approach towards each other, and defuse regional tensions. It is time for key stakeholders across the Middle East to take responsibility for conflict resolution in the region.”


For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications at The Elders (+44 7795 693903) or email:

Sign-up to receive all press releases


Please read our moderation policy before commenting

  • All comments posted on will be moderated before publication.
  • In making comments, please be constructive and treat others with respect.
  • Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, inflammatory statements or accusations, personal attacks, discriminatory or abusive language will not be posted.
  • Links: Please do link to other relevant sites and articles to enrich the debate. Please do not link to inappropriate or offensive websites or use signature links in your post.
The Elders are independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, who offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity.

Sign up to receive monthly newsletters from The Elders.

We will occasionally send you other special updates and news, but we'll never share your email address with third parties.

Visit the archive to see our past newsletters.

The Elders website uses cookies. Click here to accept the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy when visiting this site.