2003 Transcript
 

03/31/2003
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs in ABC interview with Barbara Walters

PETER JENNINGS, anchor: The secretary general of the Arab League said, at a meeting in Athens today, that the Arab world is engulfed in extreme anger - his words - and that watching Baghdad -again his words - being hit hour after hour is too much for any Arab to swallow. In Saudi Arabia, which is being very quiet about the support it is giving the United States, the war is unpopular among young people, particularly, and in the general public at large, which places tremendous pressure on the ruling family. Earlier today, ABC's Barbara Walters talked to the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud al-Faisal.

BARBARA WALTERS: Prince Saud al-Faisal has been foreign minister for more than 25 years. He is the son of the late King of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal, and has studied in the U.S. After graduation from Princeton he went right into the family business: running Saudi Arabia. We talked earlier today by satellite.


WALTERS: Your Highness, from your vantage point, how is this war going?

PRINCE SAUD AL-FAISAL (Foreign Minister, Saudi Arabia): As every war, it is most certainly going worse than a peaceful solution. This war can only lead to strife, to bloodshed, and to increased hatred and increased anxieties in the region.

WALTERS: There were news reports last week that you had proposed a new peace plan, to Washington and to Baghdad? Is that true?

PRINCE SAUD: We have ideas that we want to propose to both sides, and perhaps this is a good time to stop, take a breath and allow for diplomacy to work.

WALTERS: You've had no encouragement from this country?

PRINCE SAUD: We have had neither from Iraq nor from the United States. And, if you don't mind me saying so, on a personal level, as someone who has been in the United States, lived during my education for at least 13 or 14 years, I can't help but be moved to some frustration by the people who have advised, and been backing and following through the effort toward conflict in the Middle East.

The president has shown that he was always, always patient, but we have seen that people in the United States - prognosticators, advisors - claiming that war will only bring benefit. These prognosticators, when the United States needs friends everywhere, have gone so far as to try to convince the American public that their friends are enemies. This is a time for reckoning. This is a time to show who the real friend, and who the real enemy, is. And this is what makes a person like me - I can't say hopping mad, because that is not the diplomatic word. But I think the United States has to do some reckoning internally, for the advice that it has had.

WALTERS: Would you like...

PRINCE SAUD: I'm sorry to say so, but I have to say this.

WALTERS: Would you like to name names?

PRINCE SAUD: No.

WALTERS: Well, let me name names. Are you speaking of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, or our Vice-President, Dick Cheney?

PRINCE SAUD: No, I'm not going to enter into names.

WALTERS: Your Highness, do you realistically think that now, with our forces in Iraq, and the bombing of Baghdad, that the coalition is just going to stop and change its mind?

PRINCE SAUD: What's wrong with that? Let's have a cease-fire that allows for diplomacy to work, in spite of the efforts of these prognosticators that I have talked about, and these advisors that have been advising the government.

WALTERS: Do you believe that a regime change is necessary? Must Saddam Hussein be removed from power?

PRINCE SAUD: Well, we have called on Mr. Hussein to - since he has asked his people to sacrifice for the country, that he should be the first to sacrifice for his country. And if his staying in power is the only thing that brings problems to his country, we expect that he would respond to a sacrifice for his country.

WALTERS: Does your intelligence tell you that Saddam Hussein is still alive?

PRINCE SAUD: We cannot know.

WALTERS: How long do you think this war will go on?

PRINCE SAUD: God only knows, and that is the problem with wars. People can predict their beginning, but never can predict their end. It depends on many factors that are beyond the control of anybody, even military planners.

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