Foreign Minister delivers speech to Arab League Council

March 9, 2014

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal headed the Kingdom’s delegation to the 141st session of the Arab League Council of Foreign Ministers in Cairo today. The two-day meeting will focus on Arab political, social, financial, administrative and security issues, including the draft agenda for the 25th Arab Summit scheduled to be held in Kuwait from March 25-26.

In his address to the session, Prince Saud reaffirmed the Kingdom’s strong condemnation against all terrorist acts, included those recently perpetrated in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen and various other countries. He said that the Kingdom will spare no effort to combat the scourge and called on all Arab countries to cooperate in the fight against terrorism.

Regarding the Syrian crisis, Prince Saud expressed regret over the failure of the Geneva II Conference to reach a political solution, despite three years of fighting, widespread death and the destruction of large parts of Syria. He condemned the Assad regime, along with its supporters, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Insisting that the Syrian government has no interest in serious negotiations, Prince Saud argued that the only solution to the crisis is to change the balance of power on the ground. The international community can help by supporting the Syrian National Coalition, he explained, adding that the Arab League should give Syria’s seat to the Coalition.

The Saudi Foreign Minister also expressed his fear that the latest U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will fail – despite U.S. and Palestinian efforts – due to Israeli intransigence. “In addition to Israel’s falling behind on its commitments to the peace process requirements, Israel has set up obstacle after obstacle thus leading to slimmer chances of success for the current negotiations,” he said. “Among such obstacles are the ongoing construction of illegal settlements, the insistence on the Jewish identity of Israel as well as its non-stop oppressive measures stripping the Palestinian people of their basic rights.” Prince Saudi insisted that any negotiated outcome must achieve a fair and comprehensive peace that creates an independent Palestinian state with Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as its capital.