Prince Saud Al-Faisal and British Foreign Secretary hold press conference

July 6, 2011

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and visiting British Foreign Secretary William Haig held talks yesterday at the Foreign Ministry’s Jeddah branch. Following the meeting, the two officials held a joint press conference, during which they discussed bilateral relations and developments in the Middle East.

Addressing the situation in Bahrain, Prince Saud expressed satisfaction with the restoration of security and stability to that country and welcomed the launch of a comprehensive national dialogue and the formation of a fact-finding committee to investigate the recent unrest. Both the Kingdom and Britain, he noted, support the serious reforms being undertaken by Bahrain and rejected foreign interference in the affairs of the Gulf states.

Prince Saud expressed sorrow over the deaths of civilians, including women and children, caused by regional crises. He called on all parties to act wisely, avoid bloodshed, and enact reforms that guarantee human rights and will guarantee the security, unity and independence of Arab countries.

Regarding the Mideast Peace Process, the Saudi Foreign Minister stated, “We support the international community’s effort to revive the peace process between the Palestinians and Israelis on the basis of beginning with border and security negotiations, to pave the way for dealing with other fundamentals, led by the [issue of Jerusalem], within no more than one year so that negotiators can achieve the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state within a two-state solution.” He stressed that peacemaking efforts will fall short unless Israeli intransigence is seriously and firmly addressed.

For his part, Haig expressed happiness over his first trip to the Kingdom as Foreign Secretary. He stressed the importance of Saudi-British relations, noting that both countries are victims of terrorism, while also citing the large volume of bilateral trade. There are currently 20 joint ventures worth $70 billion between the Kingdom and Britain, he said, adding that 20,000 Britons are working in the Kingdom, while 16,000 Saudi students are studying in Britain.