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Source: Department of Public Information (DPI)
13 November 2008




Press Conference

        Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON, SAUDI ARABIAN FOREIGN

MINISTER, PRINCE SAUD AL-FAISAL, ON CULTURE OF PEACE MEETING

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Q: Now that you have witnessed something that happened here at the United Nations, really historic, how do you personally plan to build on the developments, including the opening, the potential opening by the Israeli Government to the effect of possibly, and I say possibly, embracing the Arab peace initiative. What are your personal contributions to making this go forward from here on?

SG: Thank you very much. This is a very important question. As I said in my earlier opening statement, we cannot just be satisfied with the declaration of intent for commonality, however important they may be. What we need is dialogue that delivers. It is our sincere hope that this dialogue, this endorsement by the Member States on interfaith dialogue will lead indeed to an interfaith dialogue itself, which is not necessarily something which should always be within the General Assembly Hall. We can demonstrate our commitment in various aspects of our life. Looking at what we have been doing and we have seen in what is happening in the Middle East area, when the King of Saudi Arabia was Crown Prince, he proposed, he initiated a very important Arab peace initiative. This was reaffirmed by the Arab League and this was fully supported by the Quartet again during our Sharm El Sheikh meeting last Sunday. This is very important. We agreed that the Arab peace initiative is a cornerstone of the [search for peace in the region]. We have seen continuing dialogue between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, which has been, according to them ‘substantial and promising.’ We have seen some indirect dialogue between Israel and Syria. We have seen some dialogue between Lebanon and Israel. And we have to encourage this process of dialogue. The Annapolis peace process, even though we have not been able to see a concrete agreement by the end of this year, they committed that they would continue their discussions and negotiations. The negotiation has always been very fragile, but with a very good atmosphere created during this interfaith dialogue, this time in the General Assembly. We must nurture, and we must encourage and support this ongoing dialogue. This is very important, an important beginning of a process which may take a long time, but we should never be disappointed. Thank you.


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