Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal reiterated the Kingdom’s support for Iraq and the importance of noninterference in Iraqi internal affairs in remarks at a high-level meeting on Iraq at UN headquarters in New York. Prince Saud is currently in New York to attend the 61st session of the UN General Assembly.
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the meeting to mobilize international support for Iraq within the framework of an international contract, Prince Saud said.
Two years after UN Security Council Resolution 1546 and four years after allied forces entered Baghdad, Iraq is still marred by instability and sectarian violence, a situation that bodes ill for the future. Civil wars leave no winners, only losers, he said. Iraq is in dire need of noninterference in its internal affairs; initiatives must develop from inside Iraq and reflect the free will of the Iraqi people.
The foreign minister called on Iraq’s religious scholars to use their influence to enhance unity, fraternity and solidarity among all Iraqi citizens.
He noted that there has been progress in the political process, particularly the formation of an Iraqi government. The international community must support this government and the programs of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki that seek to achieve national reconciliation, reinvigorate the institutions of the state and disarm militias.
Prince Saud called for effective coordination among donor countries to ensure that commitments are met. He noted that Saudi Arabia donated $1 billion at the recent donors conference for Iraq in Madrid, in addition to the nearly $88 million in humanitarian relief the Kingdom has provided to Iraq.
Saudi Arabia has also expressed readiness to consider reducing the official debts owed it by Iraq, and a delegation will travel to the Kingdom for discussions about this and other issues. The Saudi private sector is also poised to participate in Iraq’s reconstruction, Prince Saud said.