Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal yesterday highlighted the importance of a comprehensive approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in order to reach a lasting peace. The Saudi foreign minister made the remarks during a press briefing in New York.
Responding to a question about the international peace conference for Palestine proposed by President George W. Bush, Prince Saud said that resolution of the conflict would pave the way for Israel’s withdrawal from occupied Arab territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state. This issue was included in the paper presented to the Quartet by the Arab Peace Initiative committee, he said.
Prince Saud stressed the importance of addressing final-status issues at the conference as well as the need for proper preparation if it is to achieve the desired goals. He said that he was encouraged about the conference’s chances for success after talks with the Quartet and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
He also called on Israel to demonstrate that it is serious about peace talks by taking tangible steps, including ending the construction of settlements.
Regarding Iraq, Prince Saud warned against partitioning the country and reiterated Saudi Arabia’s support for Iraq’s unity, security, and stability without foreign intervention. He said that the Kingdom plans to send an ambassador to Iraq after determining the location for the embassy and ensuring the safety of its diplomats. Hopefully that will happen soon, he added.
On other issues, Prince Saud highlighted the importance of resolving the conflict over Iran’s nuclear file by diplomatic means. Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s purchase of weapons, he said that the Kingdom’s policy for force modernization aims to enhance its defensive capabilities.
In addition to his press briefing yesterday, Prince Saud also attended another meeting of GCC foreign ministers, which included Secretary Rice and the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan. He met separately with the foreign ministers of the Netherlands and Singapore.