2006 Transcript

Transcript of Prince Turki Al-Faisal interview with CNN’s Jim Clancy

The following interview with Jim Clancy aired on CNN’s Your World Today on January 27, 2006:

CLANCY: Well, the Palestinian elections and Hamas's stunning victory have been a hot topic at the Global Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Joining from us Davos to discuss the Palestinian situation – we’re pleased to welcome him – Prince Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Thanks for being with us out there in the cold in Davos.

Some pretty hot tempers tonight in Gaza among Fatah. Now, Assafir newspaper described it like this: “One major development embarrasses Fatah, provokes Israel, makes Washington nervous, and worries Arab capital.” Why would this worry Arab capitals to have Hamas in a democratic, free and fair election win?

PRINCE TURKI AL-FAISAL, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: I don't think it should 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. There is a roadmap on the table. There are efforts by the United States and other countries to bring together a peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

And this reminds me – you'll remember when the time Likud came to power in the late 80s and similar terms were used then, “calamitous,” “earthquake,” “shattering event.” So I think that we should take things in stride and keep cool heads instead of letting passions rule us.

CLANCY: How much financial support does Saudi Arabia, its institutions and charities, lend to Hamas? I know that it increased to something like $25 million a month after Yasser Arafat and the PLO supported Saddam Hussein after the takeover of Kuwait.

AL-FAISAL: That is not true, Mr. Clancy. 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, 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.

CLANCY: Well, Prince – Mr. Ambassador, if you can tell us right now – when people look at this, they say the door on peace talks, slammed shut. I’ve heard that as an exact quote today.

Can anyone think of winning the war on terror, as we call it, unless this Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved?

AL-FAISAL: 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.

CLANCY: Everyone says, you know, there’s no solution to this conflict. In fact, it may be the biggest lie that we, in the news media, repeat on a regular basis, that there’s no solution here, and that neither this Israeli government nor the Hamas government really want to resolve their differences.

But, in fact, there is a solution out there. It’s called the Geneva accord. It was worked out by Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo.


CLANCY: Details are in it.

Is it time for the international committee, for the U.S., Europe, the Arab states, to stop lending support to this so-called peace process that is really a search for obstacles and start focusing on what is the real solution as we know it now and make the parties agree to it?

AL-FAISAL: What has been lacking for 50 years has been implementation of peace solutions. You'll remember the plan in the early 70s followed by the Kissinger shuttle diplomacy and 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.

On the table there is an Arab piece initiative that has been there for three years and it has not been taken up. As you said, 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.

CLANCY: Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi ambassador to the United States. Sir, I want to thank you very much for joining us here on “Your World Today.”