Eight Arab foreign ministers met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt today to discuss a number of key regional issues, including reviving the Middle East peace process, the situation in Iraq, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and security in the Arabian Gulf.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal led the Saudi delegation to the high-level meeting, which was chaired by Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit. Also in attendance were representatives of Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.
During the meeting, participants were briefed on the Egyptian perspective on the issues, including President Bush’s call for an international conference on Palestine and Quartet Special Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair.
In a statement released after the meeting, the parties reiterated their commitment to achieving peace and stability in the Middle East and agreed to coordinate efforts to promote regional peace and security.
They reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution for ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and expressed deep concern over the humanitarian situation in Palestine. They also expressed support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
In the statement, meeting participants welcomed President George W. Bush’s proposal for an international conference on Palestine this fall.
Turning to Iraq, they confirmed the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of Iraq and called for an end to foreign interference in the country, including supplying arms, training armed groups and allowing terrorists transit through to Iraq.
On Iran, the parties reiterated their “strong support” for international diplomatic efforts and urged Iran to comply with international diplomatic efforts and its Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) obligations.
The foreign ministers also reiterated the Riyadh Declaration’s call for efforts to encourage cultures of moderation, tolerance, dialogue, openness and reject all forms of terrorism, extremism and racism.
Read today’s statement