King Abdullah gives wide-ranging interview to Al-Rai

June 27, 2007

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz discussed a range of key regional issues in an interview published today in the Jordanian newspaper Al-Rai. The King begins a state visit to Jordan today.

In the interview, King Abdullah urged the Palestinian leadership to act wisely and live up to its responsibility towards the Palestinian people. The King noted that during his recent visits to Spain, France and Poland, he found support for the Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Regarding Lebanon, he called on the various political factions there to resolve their differences through negotiation, and denounced any intervention that widens the gap between the Lebanese factions.

On Iraq, the King said that Saudi Arabia is concerned about the situation in the country, adding that the Kingdom will continue supporting the Iraqi people in any way possible. He stressed the importance of reducing tension in Iraq and noted that the future of Iraq must be determined by the Iraqis. In addition, the Kingdom has not ruled out hosting a reconciliation meeting for the various Iraqi factions if such a meeting would be useful.

King Abdullah condemned terrorism as a dangerous phenomenon that is not in line with the teachings of Islam or the human nature.

He also denounced regional efforts to undermine the security and stability of Arab countries. These efforts will never reach fruition and will have a negative impact the countries that engage in them, he warned.

Turning to elections in Saudi Arabia, the King said that they are determined by political and social change as well as the interests of the country and society, and remarked that citizens retain the right to express their views at the various open weekly meetings each week as well as through the municipal, regional and national councils. Moreover, Saudi Arabia does believe in gradual reform in a way that serves the country’s interest, he said.

In addition, the King highlighted the close, friendly relations between Saudi Arabia and Jordan.