Saudi Foreign Minister Holds Press Conference To Address Crisis In Gaza

January 7, 2009

[New York] – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal delivered the following statement today at a press conference in New York City after his attendance yesterday at a special session of the United Nations Security Council to address the ongoing turmoil in Gaza.


In the name of God, most compassionate, most merciful.

Thank you for agreeing to join me here today.

The Foreign Ministers of the Arab League have come to New York to urge the Security Council to take immediate action to end the hostilities in Gaza.

It is the responsibility of the Security Council to work to end armed conflicts as soon as they arise, and the current conflict in Gaza should be no exception. As the assault heads into its 13th day, the situation in Gaza has sparked a humanitarian travesty of great proportion and opened the door for more suffering. Yet, the Council has not taken any concrete action to carry out its responsibilities to end the hostilities. That certainly raises questions about its credibility and even the existing structure for international peace and security.

Procrastination and neglect are not ways to end conflict.

The Foreign Ministers of the Arab League came to New York to present the Security Council with a resolution to end the crisis, based on an immediate cease fire, the lifting of the siege, the opening of the crossings, the establishment of a monitoring mechanism, and the return to agreements previously entered into. This Arab proposal not only aims at stopping the military operations, but also deals with the causes that have led to them. Putting an end to the fighting and establishing the necessary monitoring mechanisms will ensure a more permanent solution. All of this will meet the security concerns of both parties and pave the way to resume the peace process and revive the negotiations in order to end the occupation and establish an independent and viable Palestinian state. Only this will guarantee the security of Israel and assure Palestine of its security, and the security and stability of the region.

The path to security is through peace, not war. And there is a path to peace.

In 2002, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia proposed a peace plan to end the Arab/Israeli conflict. This plan, named the Arab Peace Initiative, was unanimously adopted by the Arab League at its Summit in Beirut in 2002.

It is a simple and straightforward plan and one that offers justice, security and peace for all parties.

The Arab Peace Initiative calls for an Israeli withdrawal from territories occupied in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and the just settlement of the refugee situation in exchange for peace and normal relations with all Arab countries.

The initiative provides for a formal end to the conflict. All Arab countries have committed themselves to it, and it has garnered the support of more than 60 countries, including the United States. The initiative is still on the table.

The Arab Peace Initiative has become a major reference point for all attempts to solve the Arab/Israeli conflict and it is time we turn it into a mechanism to end this longstanding conflict.

Enough blood has been shed. It is time to stop the violence and start the peace. There is more than enough blame to go around, but the simple fact remains that innocent people are dying. And this must stop.

Thank you.

May peace be upon you.


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