Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal, in a joint press conference in Jeddah last night with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stressed Saudi Arabia’s support for the role of the UN in resolving international disputes.
“We had a long and thorough discussion on various issues including Palestine and Iraq and reached joint agreements,” said Prince Saud. “The UN plays an important role especially at this time when there is turmoil and disarray in international relations. We depend on the UN to return things to order while following the international law,” he said.
On the issue of the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Al-Hariri, Prince Saud said that Syria has promised full cooperation, and that he hoped the investigation would result in the punishment of the perpetrators and not the Syrian people.
Responding to a question about a recent State Department report on religious freedom that cites Saudi Arabia as a country of concern, Prince Saud said, “It is better for those who judge matters in other countries to look inside their own homes before looking inside other peoples’ homes.” He added that Saudi Arabia is performing its duty towards citizens and expatriates living there, and that the Kingdom is confident of the measures it is taking in that respect.
Annan in turn called for collective security and international cooperation to address global challenges, and noted UN efforts to resolve the situations in Iraq and Israel. On the Al-Hariri investigation, Annan said that UN investigator Detlev Mehlis will follow the evidence wherever it leads, and that whoever is implicated will be held accountable regardless of position.