Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz held a press conference today organized by the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts. Prince Bandar stressed the strength of bilateral relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America and their current cooperation in matters of mutual interest, notably the global war on terrorism. He referred to the Kingdom's efforts in combating terrorism, affirming the Kingdom's pride of and full commitment to Islam, which renounces terrorism, extremism and violence and calls for cordiality, peace, moderation and respect for other religions.
In answer to a question on the Madrid Conference of Donors to Iraq, Prince Bandar pointed out that Saudi Arabia has already, in a number of ways, been helping the Iraqi people, who have for the past thirty years suffered under the unjust regime of Saddam Hussein. Particularly since the end of military action, the Kingdom has been providing health care, water and food to Iraqi villages in coordination with international organizations. As for sending Saudi forces to keep security and stability in Iraq, he said, Saudi Arabia thinks it best that Iraq's closest neighbors do not do this, taking into consideration the sensitivity of the issue and the risk of polarizing Iraqi forces. He added that in any case the Kingdom maintains a policy rejecting any form of interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
Prince Bandar strongly denied press reports of an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for nuclear technology exchange for oil, reiterating the Kingdom's strong stance that the Middle East region be free of all weapons of mass destruction, and that any country that possesses them should immediately renounce them, citing Israel.
On the Palestinian issue, Prince Bandar commented that this has always been a concern of the Kingdom, and asserted that Saudi Arabia is doing everything it can to halt the current deterioration of the peace negotiations. He reiterated the Kingdom's position that that there will be no Palestinian state without peace for Israel and there will be no peace for Israel until the Palestinians achieve their legitimate rights: a free sovereign state with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital. He stressed the need for the United States to intervene to stop Israel's current violence against the Palestinian people, and allow the attainment of a comprehensive and just peace to achieve stability in the entire region.