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Excerpts of Speech on the Saudi Initiative

From Associated Press

Here is an excerpt of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah’s speech at a summit in Beirut proposing a new Arab peace initiative. Associated Press translated the speech, which was delivered in Arabic.

I thank the fraternal country of Lebanon . . . for hosting this summit at this critical and turbulent juncture in history in which events are unfolding. . . .

Those who follow the intifada of our brothers in Palestine, which has the support of all Arabs and Muslims, realize that steadfastness will not wither, that bravery will not retreat, and that right will prevail. . . . It is therefore incumbent on the Israeli government to realize this [that Palestinians will continue their struggle] and to try to avoid it by following another path, that is the path of peace.

It has been clear in our minds . . . that the only acceptable objective of the peace process is a full Israeli withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with [East Jerusalem] as its capital and the return of refugees. Without achieving this objective, the peace process becomes a waste of time, a play on words and merely maneuvers that perpetuate the cycle of violence.

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I tell the Israeli people that if their government gives up the policy of force and suppression and accepts genuine peace, we will not hesitate in accepting the Israeli people’s right to live in security with the rest of the people in the region.

. . . I propose that the Arab League put forward a clear and collective initiative to the United Nations Security Council based on two basic issues: normal relations and security for Israel in exchange for full withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories, recognition of an independent Palestinian state with [East Jerusalem] as its capital, and the return of refugees. At the same time, I appeal to all friendly countries throughout the world to support this noble humanitarian proposal. . . .

God’s peace and blessing be upon you.


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