Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal today conferred with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, who was on a short visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In a press statement following their meeting, Saudi Arabia expressed appreciation for the efforts undertaken by the United Kingdom concerning the Middle East peace process, particularly in the framework of its role as the current chairman of the European Union. In this context, Saudi Arabia reaffirmed that the obstacles facing the peace process result from the intransigence of the Israeli government and the fact that it has not fulfilled its obligations in accordance with the Oslo Accords, and declared that UN security resolutions must be adhered to in pursuing solutions that will satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
Concerning the current crisis in Iraq resulting from Iraq's refusal to permit UNSCOM to carry out its mission, Saudi Arabia expressed appreciation for the U.K.'s effort to pass a UN resolution reflecting the unified position of the Security Council for full compliance of Iraq in allowing UNSCOM to continue to perform its duties.
Both sides agreed on the necessity of Iraq complying unconditionally and without delay to the will of the international community as expressed in the UN resolutions, and stressed their belief that failure to reach a diplomatic solution to this crisis will lead to dire consequences if the Iraqi regime persists in its refusal. At the same time, both sides affirmed their concern that all diplomatic efforts be exhausted in attempting to solve the current crisis.
Foreign Secretary Cook later stated that his talks with the Foreign Minister were constructive, and remarked that there are some thirty thousand British nationals working in the Kingdom.