2004 News Story

Prince Saud’s briefing covers Israel, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and terrorism

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal, at his periodic press briefing held in Jeddah today, commented on the ruling of the International Court of Justice against the segregation wall being erected by Israel, saying this is once more evidence of the illegitimacy of Israeli policies, from occupation of Arab lands to the current violence and killing. Saudi Arabia, he said, is in full support of the ruling, having presented a legal paper during the proceedings and attended the closing session. Commenting on the expected outcome of a scheduled visit to Israel by Mohammed Al-Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said the Arab countries are determined to make the Middle East a region free from weapons of mass destruction, and nuclear arms in particular.

As for Iraq, Prince Saud expressed the hope that the transfer of power will put that country on the right track, contribute to building an independent state, and restore Iraq's regional and international status. Iraq's neighbors, he said, plan to hold a meeting in Cairo soon. Confirming the Kingdom’s positive response to the request by the interim government to re-open the Iraqi Embassy in Riyadh, he commented that any delay in the exchange of diplomatic missions between the two countries is for reasons of security, not diplomacy.

Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud said, is closely following developments in Sudan's Darfur region, and the efforts being exerted by the Sudanese government to put an end to the current dispute and achieve stability in the western part of the country. The Kingdom welcomed the decision by the African Union (AU) to send peacekeeping forces, and the spirit of cooperation shown by the Khartoum government. There is therefore, he said, no need for any further United Nations measure, which might worsen the situation, and urged the international community to build on the AU initiative.

On implementation of the border agreement with Yemen, Prince Saud said every detail has been dealt with and no problems have arisen. He confirmed that a number of locations will soon be handed over to Yemen; and that there have been many Saudi-Yemeni joint investment projects since the signing of the economic agreement four years ago. He added that the process of Yemen acceding to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is on schedule.

Concerning recent remarks by Crown Prince Abdullah on the fight against terrorism, Prince Saud confirmed that anyone who does not respond to King Fahd’s offer of a grace period for surrender, will face the full might of the State. Asked about the extent of foreign cooperation in the recent wave of successes against the deviant group in the Kingdom, he confirmed that cooperation with external intelligence exists, but declared that the decisive factor remains the cooperation between the Saudi people and the Saudi security forces.

Denying a deal reported in the media to swap Saudis imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for westerners in the Kingdom’s jails, Prince Saud declared that the Kingdom never bargains. Nevertheless, he said, the Kingdom reserves the right to seek by any means the extradition of citizens detained abroad.