Periodic Press Briefing of
HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister
MOFA, Riyadh, Wednesday, 26 Muharram 1428H
(14 February 2007)
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
At first, it is my pleasure to express the satisfaction of Saudi Arabian government with the visit of His Excellency President of the Russian Federation to the Kingdom, and the positive results ensued thereform.
This is based on the strategic importance of the relations between the two countries, and the need to intensify coordination and joint action in favor of bilateral relation, developing it in all fields, and serving regional and international issues, and global economic issues.
We turn our heads to God the Great and Almighty with praise and thanks for success of everybody in halting the infighting between the Palestinian brothers, and agreement on the formation of a national unity government, and the real cooperation we felt between the two biggest Palestinian organizations.
This is a good omen, Inshalla.
Whereas the agreement reached between the Palestinian brothers is by their own free volition based on their feeling of responsibility, talking about the details of this agreement should be left to them.
We hope that this agreement, which is received uniquely by the Palestinian people, will gain the required international support to lift the suffering of the Palestinian people and pave the way to resumption of the negotiations on peace.
We reiterate our strong condemnation of the continued Israeli excavations beside the Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem], which represent going too far in provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world.
I would also like to express our denunciation of the criminal [double] explosion accident witnessed in brotherly Lebanon yesterday.
This is particularly condemned because today is the painful anniversary of the criminal murder of the Lebanese Ex-Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, May God have mercy on him.
Events proved the great loss of losing him on the Lebanese and Arab levels. We repeat the call to all Lebanese leaders to give precedence to national interest and adopt dialogue approach to solve the existing differences, thus maintaining security, stability and unity of Lebanon, and independence of its political decision.
With regard to Iraq, I received yesterday, His Excellency Hoshiar Zibari, Foreign Minister of Iraq. We held a long meeting of discussions.
In it, we listened to developments of the situation in Iraq. We expressed our hope that the exerted efforts will achieve their objectives including strengthening Iraq’s security, terminating all sources of violence, terrorism and armed militias without differentiation or discrimination, and realization of national reconciliation between all sons of Iraq through revision of the constitution and fair distribution of wealth.
I also received His Excellency Foreign Minister of Pakistan, within the framework of care of our two leaderships for continuity of bilateral contact and consultations on the conditions of Islamic nation, ways of establishing its unity and countering endeavors to plant seeds of sedition and division among its sons.
It is a pleasure to receive your questions
Question: Your Highness! Were any understandings made during the visit of President Putin to Saudi Arabia on providing the Kingdom with any type of Russian defense systems particularly T90 tankers on which there was a talk in the light of the Kingdom’s endeavor to diversify sources of armament?
What do you think of the proposal mentioned by President Putin, during his attendance of the event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, to provide the Kingdom with nuclear technology, in the light of GCC’s strive to obtain the technology for civil purposes?
Minister Al Faisal: There are no obstacles to cooperation between the two countries in all fields, on the armament side and nuclear energy on the other side.
On the armament aspect, there were talks between the two countries according to the Kingdom’s needs of weapons, and the availability of these equipments in Russia.
To have details on this, you have to refer to Ministry of Defense.
I have no information on details of the weapons types required or proposed.
As for the nuclear technology, during the visit, the Kingdom, the GCC Secretariat and Secretary General were contacted based on the decision of the recent summit to develop this industry by GCC countries to set a standard for use of energy according to agreements and protocols of IAEA.
This will be a standard for what can be done to this effect without getting into armament or weapon issues. Russia, among other countries, owns this industry. Cooperation in this field with Russia is similar to cooperation with it in other fields, has no impediments before it.
Question: Your Highness! After the visit of NATO Deputy Secretary General to the Kingdom recently, is there an intention for the Kingdom to join the treaty?
Minister Al Faisal: He visited [Saudi Arabia] in his capacity as NATO representative. NATO extended its scope of activity to various domains.
As you know, it has been concerned with the affairs of North Atlantic. Recently after end of the international polarization, its activities expanded to include different fields such as the Balkans participation other places.
He was here to explain their view of NATO role and to attend a symposium that was held in the Institute of Diplomatic Studies here.
He did not invite for acceding to NATO or evened welcomes it. There is no way for joining.
Question: How many Saudi detainees are there in Iraq? Are there any negotiations between the two countries to extradite Saudi detainees to Saudi authorities?
What are the latest developments about the security barrier to be built on the Saudi-Iraqi borders?
Minister Al Faisal: There are fortifications to prevent illegal crossing. The Kingdom is exerting its efforts in this regard.
As for the Saudi detainees, wherever there are Saudi [detainees], we do our best to care for them, define reason of arrest and acting upon helping them and their families to go back to their country safe.
Question: Your Highness, I would like to ask about Saudi Arabia’s talks with Iran.
Are you making any kind of progress (if any)?
And what about the proposal that various countries enrich Uranium in a neutral country outside the region.
Is this something that you are talking to Tehran about?
Minister Al Faisal: We do talk. We are neighbors. Iran is an important country in the region.
It is only natural that we talk. They expressed recently their anxiety about possible efforts to divide the Muslim world between Shiites and Sunnis.
This is something we are very anxious about; we are very anxious not only to avoid but also to assure it does not happen.
In this regard, we look forward not only to discussion but to agreements and actions on the ground to see what both countries can do to prevent that.
We are anxious to see some action taken wherever there is capability to do so on the part of Iran.
As we are taking action by taking equal distance from all factions of Islam, and not to start supporting one faction or another which would increase the tension and increase the danger of spread of factionalism.
On the nuclear issue, they continue to assure us that they are doing so for peaceful purposes.
That is important. The other issue, which is the safety of the installations, we are talking about that.
As to the issue of enriching uranium, as you know, they are negotiating that with the Europeans.
There is a proposal by the Europeans. And I think, one of the proposals that were made was that the enrichment of uranium be done through a consortium in a neutral country.
That is what we heard but we did not discuss it directly with the Iranians.
Question: Your Highness! The Kingdom paved the way to success of the Palestinian brothers to reach to Makkah agreement.
Are there Saudi efforts to convince some international parties, which are looking hesitantly and cautiously at this agreement?
Minister Al Faisal: As I have said, the brothers reach this agreement by their own free volition.
The great echo of this agreement in the Palestinian arena will urge response.
We witnessed the celebrations that went on for several days in the Palestinian street welcoming this agreement between the two biggest Palestinian organizations.
We strongly call the world to observe this overwhelming Palestinian sentiment that stresses its way to be.
This is the real guarantee of a future of Palestinian reconciliation.
Before this event, meaning the Palestinian reception of this agreement, we hope that blockade on the Palestinian brothers be lifted so that they can feel an improvement in their living conditions, even only the humanitarian condition not the sovereignty and political one.
It is long time for the suffering of the Palestinian human being. It is high time normalize his conditions and to receive what he deserves of development and progress. Thank you.