Riyadh - SPA:
Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Franco Frattini, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, held a press conference here yesterday.
At the outset of the press conference, Prince Saud read the following statement:
'I am pleased to welcome His Excellency the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and the accompanying delegation to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Also, I am pleased to welcome the economic and trade delegation accompanying His Excellency. We look forward that their visit will be crowned with success and contribute to supporting and enhancing the relations between the two countries in many fields.
'Today, we held extensive, deep and comprehensive consultations on several regional and international issues of interest to our countries. These issues are topped by the peace process in the region as well as the current efforts to revive it within the framework of our joint keenness on achieving the objectives of establishing the Palestinian state within the framework of the solution of two independent states living side by side in security and peace.'
'With regard to Iraq, I would like to express the Kingdom's strong condemnation of the recent attacks which claimed many innocent lives and caused injuries to a large number of people. Such attacks are desecration to the places of worship, are rejected by our religion, and are contrary to all principles, human decency and international norms.
'The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques will not hesitate to exert any possible effort to help Iraqis stem the bloodshed, unite their ranks, enhance Iraq's security, stability and prosperity, and preserve its independence and sovereignty with the support of the Arab League. Also, I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the support Arab and international communities have voiced on the appeal the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has sent the Iraqi leaders.
'We also discussed the issue of terrorism. Without doubt, the success of recent international efforts to foil a number of terrorist attacks reflects the importance of effective cooperation of the international community in countering terrorism. Such success prompts us to enhance cooperation, especially in the field of exchanging information among states.
'We dealt with the situation in Lebanon. Our talks reflected the joint keenness on Lebanon's security, stability and territorial integrity. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its brotherly Arab countries will not spare any effort to help achieve these goals. However, achieving such goals is first and foremost subject to the Lebanese leaders who should shoulder their historical responsibilities and put the interest of Lebanon first. Therefore, we hope that all Lebanese parties will exercise restraint, respond to the sincere efforts of His Excellency President Michel Suleiman, and sit on the table for dialogue to resolve the existing differences in accordance with constitutional principles, away from the language of tension and escalation.
'The situation in the brotherly state of The Sudan was also discussed, as it is about to reach a pivotal stage in its history that threatens it with separation. This, however, makes it imperative to overcome any danger to which The Sudan might be exposed as a result of such a situation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the assessment of this situation lies in ensuring the integrity of the referendum and foiling the exercise of any pressures that can lead to undesired results.'
The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs delivered a speech in which he voiced appreciation for the Kingdom's role in stabilizing the situations in Yemen, Pakistan and other countries.
He also highly appreciated the Kingdom's contribution to exchanging information and helping prevent terrorist attacks that would have occurred.
He also praised the efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to bring the Iraqi parties together to form a new government.
Prince Saud Al-Faisal and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to the questions of reporters.
To a question on the Afghan issue, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said: 'There was a lot of talk about Saudi mediation. We developed a condition after Taliban gave a haven for terrorists. We have received a request from the Afghan President to start the mediation. We said if Taliban will come in good faith and stop harboring terrorists, we will enter into mediating negotiations. Unfortunately, communications stopped at this point.'
Prince Saud Al-Faisal asserted that Yemen is a country of civilization, calling for the need to help Yemen economically. Prince Saud said: 'We agreed ask the next meeting of donors to provide Yemen with its needs, and we will not founder in helping Yemen.'
With regard to the Palestinian issue, Prince Saud Al-Faisal said: 'We will give them a month to extend non-settlement expansion, and we'll see what they will do after that. If they do not comply, we will resort to the international law and the Security Council, and we will request a meeting of the Security Council. They will see if this organization is a tool for peace-making or not.'
Regarding the role of the Arab League in the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques for Iraqi reconciliation, Prince Saud said that contact with the Arab League is going on to implement what can be done in this framework.
Regarding the referendum in The Sudan, Prince Saud said: 'We emphasized the need to have a fair referendum as it aims to stop the fighting between north and south. It will be a contradiction in case this referendum leads to igniting the war again.'