Prince Saud Al-Faisal Statement at Joint Press Conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry

March 4, 2013

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal Statement
at Joint Press Conference with
US Secretary of State John Kerry
4 March 2013

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
I welcome His Excellency US Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry and his accompanying delegation to the Kingdom. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate him as well for his new post as Secretary of State. I look forward to continue working with him to further strengthen the historical and strategic relations between our two friendly nations, as well as dealing with regional and global challenges of mutual interest.

The relationship between the two countries is at its best at all levels and many spheres today. As facts demonstrate, trade and investment between the two countries are at record highs. In the cultural and educational fields, the number of Saudi students in the United States has reached 70 thousand, up from just seven thousand about eight years ago.

Moreover, the two countries succeeded in facilitating the visa procedures for each other’s citizens. Validity periods now can be as long as five years, which greatly helps bolster the connections and build bridges between the peoples of the two countries.

I would also like to underline the cooperation between the two countries in counterterrorism and cutting off financing to terror. We have achieved tangible successes in this regard, and our efforts are ongoing on mutual and international levels.

I would also like to point out the close cooperation between the two countries in facing the global financial crisis and the efforts to achieve global economic and financial stability through the G20 group, of which we share membership.

It goes without saying that such a strong relationship has reflected positively on our political cooperation in facing many regional and international challenges, all of which have been discussed in depth in our meetings.

We discussed the Syrian crisis in light of the recent outcomes of the convention in Rome, at which assurances were made to give more tangible political and financial support to the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The convention also condemned the armament of the Syrian regime by third parties, which enables it to murder more and more of its own people. For its part, the Kingdom stressed the importance of enabling the Syrian people to exercise its legitimate right to defend itself against the regime’s vicious killing machine.

As for the Iranian nuclear program, the Undersecretary of State met yesterday with the foreign ministers of the GCC and briefed them on the diplomatic efforts of the 5+1 Group. I discussed the latest developments concerning that issue with Mr. Kerry. Saudi Arabia supports the efforts to resolve the crisis diplomatically, in order to alleviate all doubts concerning the program and guarantee that Iran will use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes, in accordance with the standards of the IAEA and under its supervision – standards which should apply to all of the region’s countries. Therefore, we hope that the negotiations will result in putting an end to this problem rather than containing it, taking into account that the clock is ticking, and that negotiations cannot just go on forever.

Concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Kingdom stressed the importance of resuming the peace efforts based on a clear-cut vision, and manifested in tangible rather than cosmetic steps, taking into account the resolutions, agreements, and frameworks that only  need to be put in action to reach a just, lasting and comprehensive solution that would lead to the creation of an independent, contiguous , and viable Palestinian state, based on the two-state solution.

I should also commend the US support for the GCC’s initiative to preserve Yemen’s security, stability, national unity and territorial integrity. We hope that this support will continue in order to carry through the GCC initiative and its mechanisms, and hope that the US will support the upcoming Friends of Yemen conference in London.

Finally, we discussed conditions in the region at large, within the framework of maintaining the security, stability, growth and prosperity that meet the aspirations of the region’s peoples.