Foreign Minister highlights Palestinians’ legitimate rights, Saudi-US relations

May 17, 2008

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal highlighted the legitimate rights of Palestinians and commented on Saudi-US relations in a joint press conference with Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi in Riyadh yesterday.

Prince Saud described yesterday’s talks between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and President George W. Bush at the royal ranch in Jenadriyah as “comprehensive, deep and candid.”

The Kingdom followed President Bush’s address to the Israeli Knesset yesterday with concern, the Saudi foreign minister said. 

“We are all aware of the special US-Israeli relation and its political dimensions. It is, however, important also to affirm the legitimate historical and political rights of the Palestinian people under international law and its legitimate resolutions,” Prince Saud said. “We believe that stressing the right of a nation to exist should not strike out or revoke the legitimate rights of other nation.”

He expressed the hope that a peace agreement would be reached before the end of President Bush’s second term.

Prince Saud also highlighted Saudi Arabia’s support for the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism and the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), two agreements signed today during President Bush’s visit.

Commenting on the Saudi-US agreement on nuclear energy cooperation, Prince Saud said the accord is “a message for anyone, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will produce peaceful nuclear energy and beyond.”

Responding to criticism by US members of Congress of Saudi cooperation in oil matters, peace in the Middle East and combating terrorism, Prince Saud encouraged the lawmakers to visit Saudi Arabia and see for themselves.

“The Kingdom's cooperation with America and the concerned official agencies is unmatched at the international level,” he said. “'Come to us and discuss these topics, and let us cooperate together and decide what should be done in this respect,” Prince Saud said.

On Lebanon, Prince Saud welcomed the efforts of the committee that was dispatched to Beirut after last weekend’s emergency Arab League meeting to address the escalating violence in Lebanon. He called on the Lebanese parties to adhere to the Arab League initiative to resolve the political crisis there and reject the use of violence to achieve political goals.

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