2006 Transcript

Transcript of Saudi adviser Jamal Khashoggi on CNN
Saudi media adviser Jamal Khashoggi interview with Hala Gorani on CNN’s “Your World Today,” air date August 1, 2006

HALA GORANI: Well, in the meantime, calls for an immediate cease-fire have also echoed throughout the Arab would, including Saudi Arabia. Let’s get more on the Saudi position. I’m joined by Jamal Khashoggi. He is an advisor to the Saudi government and also an advisor to the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki Al-Faisal.

Let me ask you this. First, your ambassador in Washington, Jamal Khashoggi, said, “The United States must play the role of pacifier and lead the world to peace and not be lead by Israel’s ambitions.”

Is Saudi Arabia breaking diplomatically from its ally, the United States?

JAMAL KHASHOGGI: Not at all. We are very much engaged with the United States. Most of the ideas floating right now for a sustainable cease-fire, a sustainable solution for all of Lebanese problems are being floated between Riyadh, Washington and Beirut. And I'm sure when we come out to that level, those ideas will be in total agreement with all of those three parties.

The irony, it seems, that we are almost in total agreement. All what we need is just to get somebody to push for a cease-fire. We cannot move to phase two without a cease-fire.

GORANI: Well, you say you’re in total agreement with the United States, but you call for an immediate cease-fire. The United States has not once called for an immediate cease-fire. How are those two positions even remotely close to each other?

KHASHOGGI: Aside from the important issue of the cease-fire, we are in agreement in how we all see the future of Lebanon. We all see an independent Lebanon with a central government, the Lebanese government being more empowered. We all agree on that. We agree on solving all of Lebanese problems, not only the two kidnapped soldiers issue. It’s a much larger issue.

And that’s where we agree with the United States, but we cannot move to those points (ph) of agreements while we have this major disagreement over the issue of cease-fire. Without a cease-fire, how can we implement those points (ph) of agreement to fix Lebanon once and for all?

GORANI: Does Saudi Arabia believe that Hezbollah should be disarmed forcibly?

KHASHOGGI: Very much so. Not – this is for the Lebanese people to decide. And we put it – we've been talking about that even before this crisis started. When we make – when Saudi Arabia makes a mention to the five (ph) agreements, the five (ph) agreements which all Lebanese parties signed for, called for the disarmament of all militias. And Hezbollah is one of those militias.

Hezbollah was using the pretext of resistance, and the Lebanese side was arguing with Hezbollah before the crisis started (INAUDIBLE) resistance, or since the occupation has ended in Lebanon that they must comply with the five (ph) agreements. Saudi Arabia, of course, supports that concept, and we – and we passed it not only on 1559, but on a more important document which is – which (INAUDIBLE) the Lebanese side, the five (ph) agreements.

GORANI: Let me ask you this. I asked this of the Syrian ambassador to the United Kingdom yesterday. Why, in Saudi Arabia’s opinion, have the efforts to end all this diplomatically, why have they been spearheaded by Europeans and the United States, and not a single Arab nation has called a conference at the Arab League to try to put an end to a conflict in its own back yard?

KHASHOGGI: Right now, the countries which are leading the war for an end to the crisis are Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. We’re all working together with – in constant consultation with our friends in Europe, in America, and to go for a cease-fire, to go for a solution which will end all of Lebanon’s problems.

So Saudi Arabia is very much active at that role. It is spearheading all – most of the efforts that – not only in the Arab world, but in the Arab world and Europe and America, too.

GORANI: All right. We’re going to have to leave it there. Jamal Khashoggi, a top advisor to the Saudi ambassador to the United States, as well as an advisor to the Saudi government. Many thanks for joining us here on “Your World Today.”