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Saudi foreign minister says Syrians facing genocide - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal give a joint press conference in Jeddah, on June 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO/STR

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal give a joint press conference in Jeddah, on June 25, 2013. AFP PHOTO/STR

Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal accused the Syrian government of “genocide” on Tuesday, and called on the international community to issue an unequivocal resolution banning arms transfers to it.

Prince Saud said the Syrian government lost legitimacy since the first days of the conflict, when it “rejected the nominal demands of the people and waged a war of genocide against them.”

He made his comments following a meeting to discuss regional issues with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Jeddah Conference Palace, in Saudi Arabia.

Prince Saud said a firm stance by the international community was needed to bring the conflict to an end, adding that there was no longer any excuse for Russia to openly arm the Syrian regime. He called for international protection for the Syrian people by providing them with military aid, to enable them to defend themselves.

He also said the most dangerous development in Syria was the participation of foreign forces—represented by Hezbollah and other militias supported by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard—in the killing of the Syrians, with unlimited supply of Russian arms.

Prince Saud praised the recent decision of the US to supply military aid to Syria’s armed opposition.

He said: “I want to mention the US decision to send military aid to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and express my satisfaction at what the secretary of state said about the importance of achieving power balance, and maintaining the SNC’s role as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

US secretary of state, John Kerry, said: “we both agreed that the conflict had worsened and become more complicated by Assad’s invitation to Iran and Hezbollah to cross the border into Syria, to become embroiled in the conflict, and participate in the Syrian government’s attacks on Syrian people on Syrian territory.”

The US secretary of state said “the best option is the political solution which allows the Syrian people to make decisions related to their future,” adding that “we talked about a framework for Geneva II and the importance of establishing a transitional government with full authority to guarantee the transition to democracy in Syria, and as Prince Saud said, we are eager for Geneva II to be held, as it provides the best opportunity to achieve that under the leadership of the Saudi Arabia and United States.”

On the arming of Syrian opposition, Kerry said that the “type of arms was not for public discussion,” and that his country’s aim was to stop the conflict from spreading and to end the bloodshed.

As well as the ongoing violence in Syria, the two men also discussed American attempts to revive the Arab-Israeli peace process.

Prince Saud re-iterated his government’s support for a two-state solution, and said all effort should be made to resolve the core issues of the conflict in order to achieve the aim of establishing an independent, “viable” Palestinian state.

Kerry said: “I think that the Arab League delegation which visited Washington played an important role in order to pave the way for achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians. President Obama believes that these negotiations should begin as soon as possible, and that a solution is reached to establish two states, living side by side, in peace and security.”