1999 News Story

Kingdom urges Geneva states to discuss Jerusalem

Speaking yesterday at the tenth extraordinary session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, acting head of the Saudi delegation Abdelrahman Al-Ahmed stated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia urges the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention on protection of civilians' rights, concluded on August 12, 1949, to convene a conference to discuss implementation of the articles of this agreement in the occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem.  Moreover, the Kingdom calls on Israel, the occupying force, to abrogate all illegally-adopted policies and resolutions and to desist from such illegal practices in Jerusalem and the other Palestinian territories they are occupying.  The Kingdom expresses concern at Israel's violations of the articles of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and deplores the construction of Jewish settlements such as that on Jebel Abu Gheneim, to the south of occupied Jerusalem.

Mr. Al-Ahmed remarked that the fact that this extraordinary UN session has been convened is clear evidence of the impasse being faced by the international community and its concern to shoulder its responsibility towards the issue of Palestine.  In spite of the international community's appeal to Israel to put an end to its illegal settlement policy and that of altering the characteristics of Jerusalem - an appeal made because such policies will have an adverse impact on the Middle East peace process - Israel has nevertheless gone ahead in defiance of that appeal.   He pointed out that Israel has been carrying out a policy of judaization of Jerusalem which has negated the efforts of the international community to reach a just and comprehensive peace on the basis of UN resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace.   The behavior of the Israeli government does nothing to make us optimistic about the possibility of realizing the peace desired by the nations of the region.  Efforts should be exerted to force Israel to comply with the agreements concluded with the Palestinians, to respect the basis on which the peace process was established, and consequently to conduct talks with the Palestinians, the Syrians and the Lebanese.  He urged the international community, and the United States in particular, to work to save the peace process, reiterating the Kingdom's concern for security and stability in the Middle East, and noting the Arab League's adoption of peace as a strategic option at their summit conference in Cairo in June 1996.