Secretary Rice’s visit to Saudi Arabia – Remarks with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal – USDOS/Non-UN document (excerpts)

Remarks With Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
January 16, 2007

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: (Via interpreter.) …


Our talks handled the developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the lack of the discussions of Secretary Rice with the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships and the efforts to revive the peace process aiming at realization of just, comprehensive, permanent and viable peace, establishment of independent Palestinian state living side by side with Israel according to the vision of President Bush and based on international legality basis, the agreements signed between the two parties, the roadmap and the Arab peace initiative.

I would like to express our welcome of the assertions of Secretary Rice on renewing the commitment of the U.S. Administration to make progress in the peace process, establishment of the Palestinian state and intensification of U.S. efforts to solve Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We also are looking forward to ending the blockade and closure imposed on the Palestinian territories, stopping incursions policy and collective punishment of the Palestinian people that increase its human suffering.

Meanwhile, we'll feel that reviving the peace process should benefit from experiences in the past by focusing on the key issues in the conflict and working on finding radical solutions to them. Partial solutions proved ineffective in making progress in the peace process.




I did say to His Royal Highness that the United States would deepen its involvement in the efforts to find a peace between Palestinians and Israelis so that the President's vision of two states living side by side in peace and security could be realized, and described some of the efforts that we will be making over the next several weeks. I look forward to further discussion of that issue with the GCC, Jordan and Egypt this evening.


QUESTION: Good morning, Madame Secretary. My name is Talat (ph) from a Riyadh newspaper. Ma'am, recently some European countries like Germany, Spain, Italy, have been calling for a new international peace conference to be held like the one that was held in the '90s in Madrid. I'd like to know what's the position of the United States about that conference and do you think such a conference will really boost and help to solve the Palestinian-Israeli question? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: We'll take two more questions after this.

SECRETARY RICE: Okay. One and one?


SECRETARY RICE: All right. The idea of an international conference is one that at some point may make sense, but what I've found in talking to the parties is that they most want to try and engage each other, not the international community as a whole. We have to be very careful about gestures, and rather I think now try to get down to work in what has proven to be an extremely difficult problem to make progress on. There have been times when we thought we were close as an international community only to find that we couldn't quite get there.

And so I found when I talked both with President Abbas and with Prime Minister Olmert that they were attracted to an idea that actually President Abbas had raised, which is a more informal discussion of issues that they have not talked about for six years. And I think that is the way really to start this process. I will join them for those discussions. I think we will certainly be in very close contact with the regional states in support of what they are trying to do. They also have a bilateral channel that is dealing I think effectively with the day-to-day problems. It needs to be kept alive and kept very vibrant.

And finally, it's very important that we realize we do have a roadmap. It's just to make sure that we accelerate progress along that roadmap while talking about what it will take to establish the Palestinian state. So I think that's the best way to start and I think it is the way that the parties want to start as well.



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