Foreign Minister addresses Quartet committee meeting in London

May 2, 2008

Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal attended a meeting of Arab foreign ministers with the Middle East Quartet Committee in London today. The meeting was held on the fringes of Quartet talks on the Middle East.

In an address at the meeting, Prince Saud said that the situation in the Middle East is worsening due to Israel’s approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In particular, Prince Saud cited Israel’s continued construction of settlements in Palestinian lands, its insistence on achieving security before peace, and the fact that the international community has given Israel a green light to adopt whatever policy it wishes regarding the Palestinians.

Prince Saud urged all parties involved to exert greater efforts to resolve the conflict, and called for constructive proposals to move the peace process forward.

Attendees included representatives of the Quartet – US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, Middle East envoy Tony Blair and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana – in addition to the current President of the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, and European Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

In addition to Prince Saud, the foreign ministers from Jordan, Egypt and the UAE also attended, as did representatives of Kuwait and Tunis.

The Arab foreign ministers met separately with British Foreign Minister David Miliband to discuss developments in the Middle East as well as the results of the Quartet meeting in London.

Prince Saud also held  separate meetings with Secretary-General Ban, special envoy Tony Blair and Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to discuss related issues.

In a statement issued today, the Quartet welcomed steps such as the removal of some Israeli roadblocks and Palestinian security improvements, but warned that much more remains to be done. It also condemned the recent violence in the region and expressed deep concern over Israel’s ongoing expansion of settlements and worsening humanitarian conditions in Gaza.