Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal reaffirmed the importance of Arabian Gulf-U.S. relations in a speech delivered today at the Gulf Forum 2009 in Riyadh.
The Prince’s speech was delivered on his behalf by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Obaid Madani.
The theme of this year’s forum is "The Gulf Forum 2009: "US-Gulf Relations Post-Election."
In his speech, Prince Saud noted, "Gulf-American relations have been of so much strategic importance, established through decades of fruitful cooperation and common interests." He noted that the U.S. is the Gulf’s biggest trading partner, as well as the most popular destination for higher learning.
However, the Foreign Minister called for a shift in U.S. foreign policy, insisting that there must be an "immediate end to the double standard policy" giving Israel an "unconditional green light to do whatever it deems fit, even if it means undermining the peace process." Unless there is a change, he warned, America’s favoritism towards Israel "will continue to badly affect our relations."
Prince Saud stressed the central role that the Arab-Israeli conflict plays in the region. Extremism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, political instability and a lack of development in the Middle East, he claimed, are "a direct result of the ongoing failure of the international community . . . to bring about a just and comprehensive solution to the protracted conflict." Conversely, he added, resolving the issue would "bring about drastic change to crises in the region as a whole."
Prince Saud urged U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to give the highest priority to the Middle East peace process, insisting that all Arab countries are ready to participate.