Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed today that the talks between the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, held yesterday evening, focused on the latest developments in Iraq.
“The talks dealt with the new strategy of US President George W. Bush in Iraq and the bases on which this strategy is built as well as the objectives it seeks to achieve,” Prince Saud said.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Rice here today, Prince Saud said “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia agreed with the U.S. President on the situation in Iraq which need a new strategy and clear goals and objectives to respond to current developments, which can be applicable in this regard.”
Prince Saud said ” We welcome the objectives that seeks to achieve in stopping the deteriorating security situation and in dealing with all sources of terrorism and militias in all regions of Iraq without distinction or discrimination and in achieving the national unity among all components of the Iraqi people with various factions and ethnicities and leanings, taking into consideration the principle of equality and parity among everyone in terms of rights and duties and sharing of wealth which we aspire to make some amendments in the Constitution to ensure the participation of all these groups in the political process and in the preservation of Iraq’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity to stop the penetration of outsiders in the Iraqi affair, which aims at manipulating the national unity and its fragmentation.”
Prince Saud expressed hope that the US President’s strategy will find its way to achieve these goals.
The Saudi Foreign Minster also stated that the kingdom was not mediating between Iran and the United States to ease the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
“We are not undergoing any form of mediation in this issue,” Prince Saud told reporters.
But he said that his country would want to avoid conflict in the region that might emerge from Iran’s defiance of Western demands to freeze uranium enrichment.
“Iran is a neighbor of Saudi Arabia, so obviously we hope to avoid any conflict,” Saud added.
Rice meanwhile said that the issue was not a conflict between Iran and the United States, pointing out that Iran is ignoring a UN Security Council resolution that “sets out the demand on Iran to stop its enrichment and reprocessing activities”.
“There is no need for mediation” between Iran and United States, she said, adding that “Iran needs to respond to the requirements of the international community,” as a whole.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge fiercely rejected by Tehran which insists it only wants to provide energy for a growing population.