In an interview with CNN’s Miles O’Brien this morning, Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal reiterated that the US had entered Iraq without an invitation, and should not leave Iraq without the full cooperation of the Iraqi people and Iraqi government.
Commenting on President Bush’s recent call for moderate Arab states to help stabilize Iraq, Prince Turki remarked that Saudi Arabia responded to the situation in Iraq well before the president’s request, providing aid and support to its Iraqi brothers. He added that Iraqi political figures including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had visited the Saudi Arabia, and that the Kingdom recently hosted a reconciliation conference for Shiite and Sunni Iraqi religious leaders.
Prince Turki reaffirmed that the Kingdom has been at the forefront of efforts to bring peace to Iraq through cooperation with Iraq and its neighbors. He suggested that the US and Iraq’s neighboring states should discuss additional ways in which to support to Iraq.
Turning to the possibility of a pan-Arab force in Iraq, Prince Turki replied, “It would be up to the Iraqi people to decide…if they want to have pan-Arab or Arab and Muslim forces to come in, then I’m sure Muslim and Arab countries would be ready to go forward on that.”
Prince Turki also addressed the issue of Iraq in a second interview with CNN International’s Jim Clancy this afternoon. In the interview, Prince Turki said that due to the shared history and tribal connections between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, the situation in Iraq has had an immediate effect on Saudi Arabia. In addition, he said, “Our immediate concern, of course, is for the Iraqi people to achieve the kind of stability and peace that is deserved by them after so many years of struggle and hardship.”
Clancy pointed out that the situation in Iraq had become an integral part of the upcoming US congressional elections, and asked Prince Turki how the Arab world perceived this phenomenon. Prince Turki replied that for the Kingdom, the US elections are a “learning process.”Transcript of Prince Turki's interview with Miles O'Brien
Transcript of Prince Turki's interview with Jim Clancy