Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal last night called for greater US involvement in resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Prince Turki made the remarks in an address to the American Task Force on Palestine Gala in Washington, DC.
He warned that there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East without a resolution to the conflict, and stressed that it is incumbent upon leading powers – including Saudi Arabia and the United States – to move both Palestinians and Israelis towards peace.
Saudi Arabia understands its role as “a voice of reason and moderation,” Prince Turki said. In addition, the Kingdom has worked to gather support for the peace process in the Arab world.
To that end, the Kingdom still believes that the best option for peace lies with the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and adopted by Arab countries at the Beirut Summit in 2002.
“What is left now is for reasonable minds on both sides to look at this historic offer objectively and without emotion, and to work to put it in place,” he said of the Abdullah plan.
The United States must act as well. “It is time for the United States to take action and do what it has been talking about within the framework of the Road Map,” Prince Turki said.
Prince Turki also called on the United States to change its Middle East policy.
“The political reality is that, in terms of public opinion, US standing in the Middle East is at its all time low,” he said. “Something must be done to reverse that, lest it continue to fuel tensions and bring about new problems. Action needs to be taken, and US policy towards the Middle East needs to change.”
Prince Turki said that he was encouraged by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent remarks as well as by conversations between the Saudi and US governments.
“But encouragement is not enough,” he warned. “When it comes to Middle East peace, hope is too easily dashed.”
(full transcript of speech)