Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz received in Riyadh yesterday visiting Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, who conveyed to him greetings from President of Turkey Ahmat Najdat Cesar, and with whom he discussed the latest developments in the Middle East, particularly the Palestinian issue. Prime Minister Gul also held talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
Prime Minister Gul, who is currently on a tour that has the purpose of preventing another Gulf War, issued a statement prior to his departure from Ankara on the latest leg of the tour, urging Iraq to avoid a war that could plunge the region into chaos. Commenting that countries in the region stand to suffer the most in the event of war and that it is their responsibility to prevent it, he declared that nevertheless the greatest responsibility falls on Iraq. The resolutions of the United Nations, he said, must be implemented in a way that leaves no room for any doubt. At a press conference in Riyadh yesterday evening, he commented that Saudi Arabia and Turkey share identical views, and said that the two sides had discussed measures that need to be taken in order to reach a peaceful solution.
On his part, Prince Saud expressed the Saudi leadership's appreciation of the Prime Minister's efforts to unify the countries of the region on the Iraqi issue, saying Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both desirous of working for a peaceful solution and adding: "We feel optimistic following the statement of U.S. President George W. Bush in which he said that war will not be the only way for ending the dispute." Prince Saud reiterated the Kingdom's belief that the UN Security Council is the authority to decide whether or not there is tangible violation of any law, and even if it decides on a military option, in line with Article (7) of the UN Charter, there is the hope that an opportunity will be given to the neighboring and Arab countries to work for a peaceful solution. Prince Saud stated in conclusion: "If the UN asks the Kingdom to join a war, then a decision in this respect will be taken at that time in the light of the Kingdom's national interest."