Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki al-Faisal spoke with CNN’s Jim Clancy about the Hamas victory in the Palestinian elections. The ambassador, currently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said the victory should not worry Arab capitals, “nor should it worry any other capitals, because the world community is committed to a two-side solution for Palestine and Israel.”
The ambassador recalled the rise of Israel’s Likud Party in the late 1980s, described by many at the time as “calamitous” for peace. “So I think that we should take things in stride and keep cool heads instead of letting passions rule us,” he said.
Prince Turki disputed that Saudi Arabia was providing financial support to Hamas institutions and charities. “That is not true,” he said. “We’ve always supported the Palestinian Authority through United Nations organizations and through the Arab League commitments that we’ve made with them.
“If there were private contributions to Hamas,” Al-Faisal continued, “that was up to the individuals to do that. But the government of Saudi Arabia has always supported the Palestinian people in general through the Palestinian Authority and not through any other organization.”
Turning to the war on terrorism as it relates to the Hamas victory, the ambassador said, “I think the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the primary cause for most of the unrest and terrorism that takes place in the world today. Just read the literature of all of the terrorist organizations, and you’ll find that they use this conflict as an excuse, not just to commit their acts, but also to recruit supporters and support from all over the world. So it is an issue that has to be resolved for the betterment of the world community.”
Discussing the historic lack of movement toward a peace process Al-Faisal said, “What has been lacking for 50 years has been implementation of peace solutions.” He pointed to the shuttle diplomacy made famous by Henry Kissinger in the early 1970s, which was “followed by many other initiatives either by the United States or by any other group of countries or single countries. But there has not been implementation.”
For three years, he said, there’s been an Arab initiative on the table “and it has not been taken up. … The Geneva initiative worked out by Palestinians and Israelis has been on the table, and it hasn’t been implemented. The roadmap itself, which was initiated by the United States and supported by the world community, has not seen any implementation. What we need is implementation and not more rhetoric.”
Transcript of the interview