Saudi Arabia urges UN meet on settlements




“I have proposed … the Arab group (at the UN) calls for the UN Security Council to hold a ministerial meeting on the settlements,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said at an Arab ministerial meeting in Cairo.

Prince Saud charged that Israel was “undermining the conditions of the peace process by intensifying the construction of settlements to change the situation on the ground.”

He said his request for a Security Council meeting was made in co-ordination with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel and the Palestinians have been holding formal US-backed peace talks since November 2007 aimed at resolving their decades-old conflict by the time US President George W Bush leaves office in January 2009.

The construction of settlements — viewed as a major obstacle to reaching a peace deal — has nearly doubled since 2007, the Israeli watchdog Peace Now said last month.

The foreign ministers’ talks are expected to centre on the Palestinian situation and the crisis in Darfur.

Arab League chief Amr Moussa is also participating.

The ministers also planned to discuss a unified Arab position to free the region from nuclear weapons.

According to diplomatic sources, Syria wants the ministers to take up the issue of US sanctions preventing Syria and Sudan buying or renting commercial planes.

Syria said such actions violated international civil aviation treaties, international law and the UN Charter.

On another topic, Saudi Arabia was expected to call on the ministers to strengthen Arab ties with Muslim countries in Central Asia.

One proposal was for Arab countries to open embassies in Central Asian capitals in a bid to offset growing Israeli economic activity in the region.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *