2007 News Story

Foreign minister holds press conference on Arab League Summit

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a joint press conference with Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa after the conclusion of the 19th Arab League Summit in Riyadh March 29.

In an opening statement, Prince Saud highlighted the success of the summit, and said that the decisions reached there reflect Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s desire to deal with Arab issues in a practical and responsible way.

The Palestinian issue was foremost among the issues discussed at the summit, the Foreign Minister remarked. He also stressed the importance of Palestinian unity and peace as a strategic choice for Arabs, within the framework of the Arab Peace Initiative. He added that the Palestinian unity government would abide by the resolutions reached at the Riyadh summit.

Prince Saud also said that Israel’s rejection of the Arab Peace Initiative was not surprising and that it is not the action of a country that wants peace. He added that there is no fixed timeline for the initiative.

The summit also addressed stability in Iraq and Lebanon, Prince Saud said.

Commenting on King Abdullah’s characterization of Iraq as a country under occupation during his opening remarks at the summit, Prince Saud said that the King’s remarks were appropriate. Occupation is the correct word to describe a situation in which foreign troops are stationed in a country, he said. If those troops were invited in, that is another story. But any military action conducted against a country’s will should be characterized as an occupation.

Asked what position Arab countries would take in the event the United States launched military action against Iran, Prince Saud said that any war in the Gulf would have a large impact on the region and that every country would take its own precautionary measures to defend itself.

Prince Saud also said that the Kingdom hopes for a speedy resolution to the crisis surrounding Iran’s detention of 15 British sailors.

Turning to Sudan, Prince Saud said that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques chaired a meeting between Sudanese President Omar Al-Basheir and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the summit in an effort to build confidence between Sudan and the United Nations and discuss efforts to resolve the crisis in Darfur. 

The foreign minister also said that Saudi Arabia has no problems with Libya. “We have no conflicts with them,” he said. “There was an incident but we have already overcome it.”