Question of Palestine home
15 June 2008
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
Remarks by the Secretary-General to the press, prior to his departure from Saudi Arabia (unofficial transcript)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 15 June 2008
SG: Ladies and gentlemen, salaam aleikum. It is a great pleasure for me to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia again, this time on my own visit to have a meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Majesty King Abdullah, and other senior Government officials, including His Royal Highness the Foreign Minister and His Royal Highness the Interior Minister and also Crown Prince Sultan [Abdul Aziz al-Saud]. I regard our partnership between the United Nations and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as very strong and very useful, and we are very much grateful for all the leadership and generous contributions His Majesty King Abdullah has been taking in the areas of peace and security in the region, as well as development policies and also particularly humanitarian aid.
I also discussed the overall Middle East peace process and the Arab peace initiative with His Majesty, along with other regional issues, including Lebanon. I’m gratified at the useful discussions I have had in Jeddah.
Thank you very much, and I will be happy to answer some questions.
Q: [in Arabic] Mr. Secretary-General, what is your position on the role of Saudi Arabia, related to the positions the Kingdom has taken, particularly the Arab peace initiative?
SG: The Arab peace initiative is one of the main elements in promoting the peace process in [the region]. I warmly welcomed this initiative as the Secretary-General. And I sincerely [think] that, while we have seen some development of the situation in the Middle East, we have not seen as much progress as we had hoped. It is a source of great concern that, still in this area, many regional conflicts have not yet been resolved. We have been briefed and appreciated His Majesty the King’s own initiatives, including this Arab peace initiative, in many areas – like, as I mentioned just now, the resolution of the Somali situation, Lebanon and also Iran, and the peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians, and his initiative to see the unity of the Palestinians was also very much welcome. However, all these efforts and initiatives by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other players should yield results as soon as possible. I as the Secretary-General have been actively participating in this issue, including the [inaudible] process, and I intend to continue to closely cooperate with His Majesty the King and other senior Government officials.