1996 Speech

Prince Saud's speech at Peacemaker Conference, Sharm Al-Shaikh
Statement by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, to the Conference of Peacemakers Sharm El-Sheikh on March 13, 1996

I would like to convey to you, at the outset, the greetings and best wishes of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, King of Saudi Arabia, who has honored me to represent him in this important meeting, which is concerned with a subject that has captured most of our attention and thoughts, and is a major source for our preoccupation at this critical and sensitive junction of the history of our region.

The importance of our meeting today lies in the fact that it expresses, in a profound way, our collective commitment to peace, and our full determination to eliminate all impediments and obstacles that may hinder its path.  The justifications for our meeting today are present in every episode of the cycle of violence that has befallen this region in the past.  As we all did during the massacre of the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron,  where we unanimously condemned all forms of violence and terror, we equally condemn today, unanimously, the violent acts that took place in Tel Aviv and the Occupied Territories.  All these acts are directed at innocent civilians, and require us to strongly condemn them no matter who the perpetrators or what their justifications.

The participants here today, through this important conference, not only wish to deal with the issue of violence in the Middle East, but strive to uproot violence and energize the peace process with a view to speedily realizing its noble goals.  These goals are aimed at realizing a just, comprehensive and durable peace in the region based on the Security Council Resolutions relevant to the Arab - Israeli conflict and the principle of land for peace, and will lead to the closing of the curtain on the acts of war and crises and conflicts that have plagued the region for decades, and will usher a new era of prosperity, progress and tranquility.

We are totally convinced that while the question of confronting violence and terror requires firmness and serious action to uproot, it equally and simultaneously requires due attention to avoid measures that could inflict punishment not only on the perpetrators of these despicable acts but also on the innocent civilians who are victims of these crimes.  Collective punishment, closure and any type of violence against innocent people will in turn generate more violence.

Four years have passed since the launching of the peace process at the Madrid Conference. During this period many concrete steps have been taken and many gains attained.  We would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to the co-sponsors of the peace conference.  We also note, with great satisfaction, the efforts exerted by President Bill Clinton and his Administration to enhance the peace process.  We would also like to register our appreciation to the international community for the material and financial support it has provided to promote the peace process.  We hope that our meeting today will achieve tangible results that will energize the peace process and create the right and necessary environment for expediting the Syrian and Lebanese tracks of the bilateral negotiations and lead to the successful conclusion of the final status negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, that encompass the most delicate and sensitive issues of the Palestinian problem.

We are confident that achieving these results will constitute a determined response to all the enemies of peace in the Middle East, whichever side they belong to, since they use violence to hinder this noble process.  The true assurance of ending the cycle of violence and the tragedy of terrorism lies indeed in giving the peace process a strong impetus to resume its path based on international legality and the principles established by the Madrid Conference.

To this end, we call upon the co-sponsors of the peace process to reconvene the Conference of Madrid in a resumed session to evaluate the achievements of the peace process, and to take all necessary measures to insure the realization of a just, comprehensive and durable peace in the region.

May God guide us all to the realization of our noble goals.