Saudi FM urges Israel to engage seriously on resolving Palestinian conflict

Saudi Arabian foreign minister presses for Palestinian peace talks

 US SECRETARY of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud arrive to deliver remarks to reporters before meeting at the State Department in October. (photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)
US SECRETARY of State Antony Blinken and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud arrive to deliver remarks to reporters before meeting at the State Department in October.
(photo credit: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS)

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud urged Israel’s new government on Wednesday to engage seriously in resolving the Palestinian conflict.

"Palestine remains an important evocative issue in our region... the focus really needs to be on a pathway to resolving this conflict," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos during a panel discussion on the region.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to pursue formal Israeli ties with Riyadh after normalization pacts signed with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in 2020, even though his government has no plans to recognize a Palestinian state.

Saudi Arabia has linked any such move to a resolution of Palestinian statehood goals and Prince Faisal underscored that point in Davos, as he spoke of his concern about statements by the new government which was sworn in late last month.

'The new government is sending some signals that are not conducive to" a two-state resolution to the conflict, Prince Faisal said. Israeli and Palestinians have to negotiate a resolution to the conflict that includes a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as the capital of that state, he said

SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, last month.  (credit: AHMED YOSRI/ REUTERS)SAUDI ARABIAN Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud speaks at the Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, last month. (credit: AHMED YOSRI/ REUTERS)

"That should be the priority and that should be the engagement that we are doing in the international community," he explained, adding a two states resolution is in the best interest of Israel and the region

"We need to be able to give the Palestinians hope, and the only pathway to hope is a state" that provides them with "dignity and sovereignty for the Palestinian people. If we can do that, it removes a huge drag on the entire region, a source of potential conflict," Prince Faisal said.