Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal and Secretary-General of the National Security Council Prince Bandar bin Sultan met with President Bush at the White House yesterday to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.
In remarks to the press after the meeting, Prince Saud said that he delivered a message to President Bush from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz aimed at stopping the bloodshed in Lebanon.
“We requested a cease-fire to allow for a cessation of hostilities,” Prince Saud said. “I have brought a letter from the Saudi King to stop the bleeding in Lebanon, and there has been an agreement to save Lebanese lives, Lebanese properties and what the Lebanese have built, and to save this country from the ordeal it is facing.”
Prince Saud said that in the meeting that he found President Bush to be “very conscious” of ending the destruction and bloodshed in Lebanon. To that end, the president is dispatching Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Middle East for talks about the situation, Prince Saud said.
The foreign minister said that he did not see any objection to a cease-fire in Lebanon, the timing for a cease-fire or Lebanon exercising sovereignty on its soil. Prince Saud also confirmed that the present crisis is related to Lebanon’s ability to establish sovereignty over its territory, and stressed Saudi support for the Lebanese government’s efforts in that regard in accordance with the Taif agreement.
In addition, Prince Saud said that Saudi Arabia will participate in an upcoming conference in Rome to discuss the current crisis.
Also present at the Saudi-US meeting were Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Foreign Affairs Adviser Adel Al-Jubeir, Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council Rihab Massoud, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.
Earlier yesterday, Prince Saud and Prince Bandar met separately with Secretary Rice as well as with UN Special Envoy Terje Roed-Larsen to discuss the situation in Lebanon.