2006 News Story

Foreign Minister gives wide-ranging press conference

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a regular press briefing at the Foreign Ministry in Riyadh today.

He touched on a number of issues, including Arab unity, the address by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the Shura Council, the recently concluded Arab summit in Khartoum, Iraq and the Palestinian situation.

At the beginning of the press conference, Prince Saud said that King Abdullah’s address to the Shura Council outlined the basic goals of the Kingdom’s foreign policy. They include Arab unity, defense of legitimate causes (in particular the Palestinian issue), the promotion of world peace, and international cooperation.

Prince Saud praised the 18th Arab summit, which concluded recently in Khartoum, and said that he hopes it will contribute to promoting joint Arab action in pursuit of common objectives.

In particular he welcomed the summit’s commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Turning to Iraq, Prince Saud said that he hopes to see a stable government formed, one that will put an end to the violence and achieve security for the Iraqi people.

Commenting on Syrian-Lebanese relations, Prince Saud said that Saudi Arabia stands ready to help in any way, but that it is up to Syria and Lebanon to work through their issues.

Talks are underway with the United States to release a group of detainees at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Prince Saud said.

The Foreign Minister also denied reports that Saudi Arabia was cooperating with Pakistan to produce nuclear weapons, and restated Saudi Arabia’s position in support of a ban on nuclear proliferation in the region.

Asked about a Saudi man who has been detained in Israel, Prince Saud said that the Kingdom has raised the issue with international organizations including the UN, the Red Cross and the Red Crescent, and that all possible efforts are being exerted.

He also touched on proposals to move the Arab League summit from Cairo to Sharm Al-Sheikh, women’s participation in diplomacy and Yemen’s economy.