The Kingdom's Speech at the Expanded Meeting on Iraq
Istanbul, November 03. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stressed the importance of maintaining Iraq's unity, independence and sovereignty and of refraining from interfering in its internal affairs.
This came in the Kingdom's speech delivered by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the expanded meeting on Iraq for Iraq's neighboring countries, Egypt, Bahrain, permanent members of the UN Security Council and the Group of Eight which was held here today.
Following is the speech:
"Allow me to express my sincere thanks to the Turkish Government for the kind invitation to this meeting aimed at continuing our collective consultation and coordination to mobilize the needed effort to help Iraq overcome its lengthy ordeal.
Saudi Arabia has always affirmed the necessity of maintaining Iraq's unity, independence and sovereignty, and of refraining from interfering in its internal affairs. We in Saudi Arabia consider Iraq a brotherly and dear neighbor and an integral part of the Arab and Islamic World. We consider all the Iraqis as our brothers without any regard to sectarian, religious or ethnic differences, and stand at the same distance from all of them.
They are a source of the rich plurality and healthy diversity that have characterized Iraq for so long. Our deep compassionate feelings regarding the human suffering of the Iraqi people are only equaled by our continuous determination to do everything possible to help them overcome the tragic conditions that continue to face them.
In spite of some positive and encouraging security developments, and of the emergence during our previous meetings of a regional and international consensus on the necessity of achieving comprehensive national reconciliation inside Iraq, the Iraqi situation unfortunately stays at a standstill.
The continuous sectarian and ethnic conflicts constitute a serious challenge to Iraq's unity and are a threat to its security and stability, and a significant impediment to its development and rebuilding efforts. This dangerous state of affairs poses great risks and terrorist threats to the security of Iraq's neighbors.
The only way out is for the Iraqi Government, and all the political and religious leaders inside Iraq, to assume their historic responsibilities in this regard. Meeting the constitutional, legal, political, security and economic requirements of achieving comprehensive national reconciliation is a must if we are to convince all Iraqis that they enjoy equal rights and that their security and political institutions will protect them from all sources of violence and provide them with meaningful and effective opportunities for participation in the political process.
We can not and should not accept the transformation of the great country of Iraq into various spheres of influence and domination by competing regional and international powers, or an arena for terrorist mobs and a center of their destructive criminal operations that threaten the security and stability of Iraq and its neighbors.
No one inside Iraq or neighboring it can be safe from the dangers of these terrorist operations inside Iraq or across its borders. In this respect we affirm our absolute condemnation of the terrorist operations that targeted Turkey, and offer our sincere condolences to all the families of the victims of these criminal acts that can never be justified or accepted under any circumstance. Every effort to stop these incursions should be made.
At the end I like to thank again the Turkish Republic for its hospitality and excellent organization of this meeting, and to express our sincere wish that Iraq will have much better conditions by the time of our next meeting."