2006 News Story

Prince Saud Al-Faisal addresses regional issues in press briefing

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal touched on key regional issues in his regular press briefing today.

Prince Saud called on the Palestinians to unite in the interest of their cause, and urged them to avoid internal conflicts. He noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call for early elections is a Palestinian issue.

The foreign minister denied reports on the existence of a Saudi initiative to mediate between Fatah and Hamas. He pointed out, however, that there are Arab efforts in that regard. Internal decisions are preferable to external initiatives, he remarked.

Prince Saud also urged Lebanese factions to work together to achieve unity through dialogue, and expressed support for the Arab League efforts in this respect.

On Iraq, Prince Saud urged the Iraqi people to respond positively to efforts by the Arab League, GCC and other international bodies aimed at bringing about national reconciliation. He denied reports that Saudi Arabia was siding with Iraq’s Sunnis, and said that the Kingdom supports those who seek unity in Iraq.

Turning to Iran’s offer to provide assistance for GCC countries seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, Prince Saud expressed appreciation to Iran for the offer and said that the GCC would welcome assistance from any country in that field.  He reiterated that the GCC program for nuclear energy is for peaceful purposes, and as such does not expect obstacles from the international community.

On other issues, the foreign minister denied media reports of a meeting between a Saudi official and the Israeli prime minister. He also noted that if indeed relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria are cool, the Kingdom is not to blame.