Saudi Arabia welcomes new peace initiative


The US president called for an international conference later this year to include Israel, the Palestinian Authority and some of their Arab neighbors to help restart Middle East peace talks and review progress in building democratic institutions.

A statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency quoted an official source as saying that the Kingdom welcomed Bush’s initiative “because it specifically calls for an end to the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent, contiguous and viable Palestinian state.”

The official source pointed out that Bush’s initiative underlined the need for peace to include an agreement on the status of Jerusalem and negotiations over the fate of Palestinian refugees.

“These points are incorporated in the Arab peace initiative that was unanimously adopted by the League of Arab States at the historic Riyadh summit,” the source said, adding that “the Arab peace initiative clearly explained that normal relations between Israel and all Arab states will be the logical outcome of an Israeli withdrawal from the Arab territories occupied in 1967.”

According to the source, the Kingdom hopes “the international conference will take place within the framework of serious international efforts that address the core issues of the struggle, guarantee a fair balance of commitments and responsibilities, and achieve the dismantlement of settlements, not just an end to future settlement activities, particularly after the failure of partial solutions which focused on security and publicity measures at the expense of a final solution.”

The source said any real progress depended entirely on a unified Palestinian and Arab approach based on the Arab Summit resolutions and joint Arab action.


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