Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a joint press conference in Jeddah today with Italy's foreign minister Franco Frattini prior to the latter’s departure after a two-day official visit to the Kingdom. Prince Saud affirmed that the Saudi-Italian talks had dealt with international developments such as the Middle East peace process, the situation in Iraq, and the war on terrorism, as well as bilateral relations and the Saudi-Italian Joint Commission, which, he said, had accomplished a great deal, including an agreement on investment protection. He described the talks as successful and a continuation of the recent meeting in Brussels between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU), where agreement was reached on a GCC-EU free trade zone. Also discussed, he said, was the positive outcome of the recent Arab Summit in Tunis, with its historic document pledging Arab accord and solidarity.
Prince Saud went on to comment on the current tragic situation of the Palestinian people, who are being killed and displaced, their homes demolished and their agricultural land destroyed; urged the international community to protect them against Israel’s policy of arrogant aggression, which is in flagrant breach of all humanitarian values and international laws; and, citing the United Nations Security Council resolution No. 1544, confirmed the need to revive the Quartet’s ‘roadmap’ and combine it with the Arab peace initiative, the two being complementary.
As for Iraq, Prince Saud declared that Saudi Arabia and Italy share the belief that the United Nations Security Council resolution that is currently being drafted, should specify full UN authority over achieving security and stability in that country, including the transfer of power and complete sovereignty to the legitimate government in order to enable the Iraqis to build their civil and constitutional entities.
Replying to a question on the possibility of deploying Saudi troops to Iraq, Prince Saud said the matter of Arab intervention had been discussed at the Arab Summit in Tunis, the consensus being that no decision could be taken unless a request is made by a legitimate Iraqi government, in accordance with the Joint Arab Defense Treaty.