Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz expressed concern about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and instability in Iraq, Lebanon and Darfur in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais. The King gave the interview in advance of his first official visit to Spain since ascending the throne.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains the longest-running conflict in the region’s contemporary history, the King noted, despite efforts to resolve it. He expressed concern about the impact of the escalating conflict on the region.
“My concerns are like the concerns of all reasonable people that the situation might explode affecting not only the region but also the whole world,” the King said.
Additionally, the region is concerned about increasing instability in Iraq and Lebanon, the conflict in Darfur, terrorism and the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, he said.
King Abdullah reiterated Saudi Arabia’s position that the region should be free of nuclear weapons, and highlighted countries’ right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes in line with international standards. Issues surrounding nuclear programs should be settled by peaceful means, he said.
The King also stressed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to fighting terrorism and to the stability of global oil markets.
Turning to his state visit to Spain that begins today, King Abdullah said that the visit aims to enhance the already strong relations between the two countries.
“We attach great importance to the Spanish stance vis-à-vis the Middle East problem and the peace process in the region which has been linked with the name of Madrid,” he said.
King Abdullah also praised Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero for his initiative calling for dialogue among civilizations.