The foreign ministers of eight Arab countries, the six neighbors of Iraq (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey, Jordan and Iran) plus Egypt and Bahrain, issued a joint declaration yesterday following their one-day consultative meeting in Riyadh. The statement affirmed that these countries will not interfere in, and will not accept any interference in, the internal affairs of the Republic of Iraq, stressing that the new State is to be set up according to the will of its own people, and so that Iraq can pursue its historic role and live in peace and harmony with its neighbors.
At a press conference after the meeting, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal commented that the aim of the joint declaration is to facilitate resolution of the Iraqi problem and enable the Iraqi people to determine their own future; and affirmed that Saudi Arabia would not intervene in its domestic affairs and would not tolerate others doing so, adding that there is, however, a need to lift the sanctions imposed on Iraq. He went on to say that in compliance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, the occupying forces should shoulder their responsibility towards Iraq's security and the safety of the Iraqis and their property, and put an end to the looting. He urged the Iraqis to unify their ranks and undertake management of their own affairs as soon as possible after the end of the occupation, and commented that the existence of these occupation forces should not prevent the neighboring countries from providing the Iraqi people with the humanitarian assistance they need.