2000 News Story

Arab foreign ministers meet in Beirut

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal left Beirut today after participating in the 113th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the League of Arab States. On his arrival yesterday, Prince Saud Al-Faisal attested to Saudi Arabia's support of Lebanon, referring to the recent visit to Beirut by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.

In his address to the session, Prince Saud Al-Faisal stressed the Kingdom's constant stance in support of Lebanon, adding that the international community must condemn Israel's repeated aggression against Lebanon. Moreover, Israel must be deterred from further aggression like this, and from words of racism and arrogance such as those attributed to the Israeli foreign minister.  He went on to remark that the security of Israel can only be guaranteed if the same security is granted to Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine, and that this can only be realized in the framework of a comprehensive peace in the region.
In a statement issued at the end of its 113th session yesterday, the Council attested to Arab solidarity with Lebanon, deploring Israeli shelling of Lebanese infrastructure, Israeli threats against Lebanon, and Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon and western Baka'a, as constituting a flagrant violation of international law and specifically the United Nations Security Council Resolution 425. The ministers reiterated Lebanon's right to obtain reparation, and called on the international community to pressure Israel to comply with this resolution. They also urged those Arab countries that maintain relations with Israel within the framework of the peace process to revise their stance in this respect in the light of Israeli aggression on Lebanon; and urged all Arab countries to honor their commitments towards Lebanon, and contribute to its reconstruction.
Endorsing the principles of Madrid, the Council urged resumption of negotiations towards a comprehensive and just peace in the Middle East. The ministers stressed that the basis for this is Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon, western Baka'a, the Golan Heights, and all occupied Palestinian territories including Jerusalem, and reiterated the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland. They called for the release of all Lebanese detained in Israeli prisons, and voiced support of Lebanon's attempt to form an international court to try Israeli war criminals involved in massacres such as the one that occurred on April 18, 1996.