Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a joint press conference with visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Riyadh today. Yesterday, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz held talks with Secretary Rice about the new US strategy in Iraq.
Prince Saud said that the Kingdom agrees with President Bush that a new strategy with a clear purpose is needed for Iraq. He and expressed the hope that the new US strategy for Iraq would achieve security and unity there.
“We hope that President Bush’s plan goes forward to achieve these objectives in view,” Prince Saud said. “We hope to support the plan by resuming the Iraqi national accord conference in response to the efforts of the Arab League in view of the situation in Iraq of impact on the security and stability of the region and entire world.”
He also noted, “In supporting the plan, the plan has objectives. The details of how to implement those objectives I don't think we can cover in one night of discussions, so we really cannot comment on what the means will be applied for this. But a lot of responsibility, as his speech explained, lies on the Iraqi Government itself so it depends on what program the Iraqi Government puts that the details will be clarified.”
The Foreign Minister also said that he hopes the Iraqi National Reconciliation Conference would resume in response to efforts by the Arab League.
In her remarks, Secretary Rice said that the Kingdom was very helpful to the process of thinking through many elements of the Iraq issue, and that the two countries share the goal of a unified, sovereign Iraq without foreign interference.
Prince Saud added that the Saudi-US talks also dealt with developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in light of Secretary Rice’s recent meetings with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. He welcomed the United States’ renewed commitment to the peace process and to resolving the conflict.
In addition, Prince Saud expressed the hope that the siege imposed on the Palestinians would end, that it is collective punishment and increases their suffering.