Photo: AP
Al-Faisal. No negotiations with Israel over wording
Photo: AP
Photo: AP
Farouk al-Sharaa. Israel must return Jerusalem
Photo: AP

Saudis: Israel must accept peace initiative unconditionally

Saudi FM says Israel trying to avoid just peace by refusing to accept 2002 Arab peace initiative in its entirety

Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Saud al-Faisal slammed reports that Israel is seeking to revise the language of a Saudi peace initiative adopted by the Arab League in Beirut in 2002.


''We have no desire to negotiate over this,'' said al-Faisal in a joint press conference with EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Javier Solana in Riyadh.


''They accept the resolution and then they talk about putting preconditions that should be accepted before negotiations or discussions or even the acceptance of the proposal. This is not a good way to do business.''


The peace initiative calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from areas captured in the 1967 Middle East war and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. In exchange, Israel would receive full diplomatic recognition from the Arab world.


Last month, Foreign Miniter Tzipi Livni rejected the initiative but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said earlier this week that Israel is giving "seriously consideration" to the plan. Olmert added however that Israel cannot accept the plan without alterations.


Jordan calls for empowering Arab moderates

Meanwhile, Egypt and Syria said Tuesday that there should be no changes made to the initiative, particularly regarding the Palestinian right of return.


''We have the Arab peace plan and we are committed to it as a whole. Talk about amending it is baseless,'' Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa said after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. ''What we want is returning all the occupied land including Jerusalem.''


Mubarak's spokesman Suleiman Awwad said Egypt also rejects the Israeli demands for amending the plan. ''Israel cannot pick and choose from the initiative and then jump into establishing normal relations with Arabs,'' Awwad said. ''The Arab plan offers full withdrawal for full peace.''


Meanwhile Jordan's King Abdullah II warned on Tuesday that violence and extremism will escalate in the region unless Mideast peacemaking is quickly revived under US sponsorship.


In a statement released after Abdullah's talks with visiting US Deputy Secretary of State David Welsh,

Abdullah said that a failure to revive the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process will increase the cycle of violence and extremism wracking the region and weaken moderate forces, such as Jordan.


Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt are making great efforts to revitalize the political process against the background of the upcoming Arab summit in Riyadh later this month.


פרסום ראשון: 03.13.07, 21:49
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