NEW YORK (AFP) — Israel should freeze construction of Jewish settlements and a separation barrier in the West Bank to prove its “seriousness” ahead of a Middle East peace summit, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Wednesday.
In a news conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly here, Saudi Prince Saud al-Faisal also continued to refuse to confirm his country’s participation in the US-sponsored summit expected in November.
Prince Saud said it would be “curious” if Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discuss peace at the conference “while building of the settlements and the wall continue.”
“There should be a moratorium,” he said.
“In order to prove its seriousness, Israel should at least put a moratorium on building of new settlements,” he said.
“It’s not too much to ask. If you are talking about giving back occupied territory you should not take new territories.”
He also continued to feed doubt on whether Saudi Arabia would attend the conference.
“Saudi Arabia does not have an occupied territory. It is Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians that are the key players in this,” he said. “Its presence (Saudi) there or not presence is not the most significant issue.”