Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- UN chief Kofi Annan said Wednesday he did not foresee US military action against Syria if it compiles with the UN investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
“In the discussion I have had with governments, including the United States, they would want to see Syria cooperate fully and help get the truth,” he said.
In a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al Faisal, after meeting King Abdullah, in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Annan also urged Riyadh to continue to use its influence with Damascus to cooperate. “Saudi Arabia is an important player in the region. We expect it to urge Syria to fully cooperate”, he said.
Western government “want to see a situation in the region where no government interferes in the affairs of the other and where no government allows criminal elements to cross its border into the other, he added in reference to US charges that Syria allows militants to cross its border to join the insurgency in Iraq.”
Visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time, Annan discussed with King Abdullah major regional and international issues including Iraq, Palestine and Syria. “We had a good discussion with the King and congratulated him on his accession and the reform programs he has initiated,” he said.
Prince Saud said Syria had promised to cooperate fully and indicated that the perpetrators will be held to account.
He also expressed the Kingdom’s support for the UN’s role in resolving international disputes in accordance to international law.
“We had a long and thorough discussion on various issues including Palestine and Iraq and reached joint agreements,” he told reporters. “The UN plays an important role especially at this time when there is turmoil and disarray in international relations. We depend on the UN to return things to order while following international law,” Prince Saud added.
Responding to a question on a report issued by the US State Department describing the Kingdom as one of the countries causing concern because of a lack of religious freedom, Prince Saud said, “It is better for those who judge matters in foreign countries to look inside their own first. Saudi Arabia is carrying out its duties to its citizens and the expatriate community. It remains confident of the measures it has taken regardless of any report”, he added.