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Saudi Arabia - Israel Relations: Joint Press Conference H.R.H. Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia And H.E. Jack Straw, British Minister of Foreign Affairs

(March 16, 2004)

In this press conference held in March 2004, featuring Saudi Prince Saud Al Faisal and British Minister of Foreign Affairs Jack Straw, the officials fielded questions from journalists in the audience pertaining to a wide range of topics. When questioned about new developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Straw commented that there were “no new initiatives” being put in place at the time. Prince Faisal stated that they were attempting to encourage the parties involved to return to the negotiation table.

H.R.H .the Minister: My statement will be brief since his Excellency has a meeting within fifteen minutes, I want to welcome the British Foreign secretary and highlight the firm, deep-rooted ties between the two countries, and I want to mention that we would like to build on this to promote broader cooperation. I had discussed with his Excellency the developments in the Middle East, particularly the situation in Iraq with Grin Stok, British special envoy to Iraq. We and Britain share common viewpoints on how to promote the stability and prosperity of Iraq's future.
The British Foreign Secretary: I would like to thank H.R.H Prince Saud for his remarks and I want to mention that this is my second visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I had discussed with Prince Saud the relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Britain. This morning I had spoken with a number of intellectuals, Muslim scholars and members of the Shoura Council on wide range issues, and I would like to praise the increasing cooperation between the Shoura Council and Britain House of Commons .We also talked about the situation in Iraq and Mr. Grin’s offer. We discussed the situation in the Middle East regarding Palestine and Israel and the chances of the United Kingdom to achieve peace between them.

Many thanks to His Excellency the Secretary. We are now ready to receive your questions.

Question: There are many points of agreement but there are also some points of disagreement, for example; the Saudi opposition or the so-called Al-Masary opposition.
Has this matter been discussed?
H.R.H the Minister: In fact in the framework of the bilateral relations we have dealt with all issues of common concern. This particular issue was discussed and we all agreed to endeavor to solve any remaining issues between the two countries and this is what I want to focus on this period and for the benefit of the case itself. I believe it is best to leave it at this level of response.

A Question for His Excellency the British Minister:
In your own opinion, what is the influence of the alliance forces in Iraq especially after the Spanish forces declaration to withdraw their forces from Iraq and is this a message from Madrid indicating that all terrorist action has achieved their goals?
His Excellency the Minister:  I have gone through a few reports concerning some Julie Sis Apetres, the recent Spanish elect prime minister, and I observed that there is frame of reference given by the United Nations which I propose to discuss with our Spanish counterparts and the Spanish government during the coming weeks. I am sure that the Spanish government will be as committed as the European Union to insure a peaceful and a quiet transition from Saddam`s regime to a representative government as much as possible and to accept its continuous responsibilities.
As for the other question, our world and the Spanish citizens regardless of political opinions are determined to prove that terrorism did not succeed.

A Question to His Excellency the British Minister: How does your Excellency evaluate Saudi Arabian efforts in fighting terrorism especially in the light of the murder of the leader of the Al-Qaida cells in the Yamani Gulf area Khalid Al-Hajj? 
His Excellency the British Minister: We extremely appreciate Saudi Arabia's determination and its government for fighting terrorism in all its forms and we attempt to increase and deepen the workable cooperation between Britain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

A Question to His Excellency the Minister: Do you have any suggestions or initiatives to drive the peace process forward in the Palestine’s occupied territories since we know that you have some ideas that you discussed with His Royal Highness?
His Excellency the Minister: there are no new initiatives. All what we want to see is a new life and new movement in the road plan which we all are committed to, more over; we are working with the Palestinian authority for supporting the Palestinian security plan. We have hope and expectation that the security in the Occupied Areas can be improved which is one of the first steps towards achieving more stability. We are committed to whatever the United Kingdom can do to reinforce this operation and this critical situation that caused numerous lost Palestinian and Israeli souls, which is the most reason in causing dispute around the Middle East and the whole world. There is a limit for what any foreign party can do unlike what they can do in the Occupied Areas and Israel but we will do, like what we have done in the past, whatever we can to help.
H.R.H The Minister: remarking on his Excellency words, we also talked about the possible cooperation between Arab world, European Union and the United States in urging the parties in returning to the peace negotiations table and the road plan. We are very pleased with the ideas his Excellency gave on the negotiations table today which I hope will leads us to a wider cooperation in this filed.

Question: regarding to the reformation in the kingdom what are the most important things to be reformed first, and what is your comment as to killing the two wanted men yesterday?
H.R.H The Minister: regarding to the reformations we have to respond to the best government's requirements for the Saudi citizens where all are equal at the eye of the law, also giving attention to the participation in the decisions related to their life which is the most important issue, and any reformation must be for the people service, that is the kingdom perspective.  As for yesterday's incident, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced its whole effort for plucking out the terrorist and their terrorist activities in our country, it also announced its cooperation in the international filed with all who fights terrorism and we are pleased with these successes though it did not ends the cause, but we will continue in the same way.

Source: Wikileaks