2007 News Story

Saudi Foreign Minister condemns settlement expansion in East Jerusalem

Saudi Arabia has condemned the Israeli decision to expand settlements in East Jerusalem, saying that the action contradicts the principles of the Middle East peace conference held recently in Annapolis.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal condemned Israel’s move in a press conference in Riyadh today.

Prince Saud said that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz had raised the issue in his meeting with the Quartet’s envoy for Middle East peace, Tony Blair, on Sunday.

“We stressed the importance of standing firmly against these colonial practices that would empty the peace process of its content, and undermine the dedicated international efforts to launch serious negotiations between the concerned parties on specified and clear basis and within a comprehensive framework,” Prince Saud said.

King Abdullah and Blair also discussed the donor conference for the Palestinians that will take place in Paris later this month. Saudi Arabia expressed the hope that the conference would provide real support to the Palestinian territories without exception and result in a lifting of the Israeli blockade, the Saudi foreign minister noted.

Commenting on Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud said that he held lengthy talks with Meshaal, and that there is a Palestinian awareness of the importance of unity and the damage caused by infighting.

On other issues, Prince Saud said that the Kingdom is following the recent CIA report on Iran. He stressed the importance of resolving the crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program by diplomatic means and reiterated the Kingdom’s call for a region free of weapons of mass destruction.

Turning to Iraq, he expressed regret for the recent security related incidents there, and urged the Iraqi government would move ahead with achieving national reconciliation.

Arrangements are underway to reopen a Saudi Embassy in Iraq, he said, adding that a suitable location and the appropriate security have not yet been determined.

On Lebanon, Prince Saud said that Saudi Arabia is following ongoing negotiations to resolve the crisis over the presidential elections, and urged Lebanese parties to double their efforts to achieve a compromise.