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Saudi diplomat: Israeli withdrawal crucial

  |   Nov. 9, 2005 at 9:27 PM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- Saudi Arabia would normalize relations with Israel only after the Israelis adopt the Arab League peace initiative, a Saudi diplomat says.

The new Saudi ambassador to the US, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that the prospect of diplomatic relations between the two countries depended only on the actions of the government of Israel.

"Once there was an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory, there would be normalization of relations," the Saudi ambassador told the Post following a speech in Washington.

Up to now, Saudi officials have refused to talk to Israeli journalists and the Saudi Embassy would not accept calls from representatives of Israeli media, the newspaper said.

In his speech at the annual conference of the Middle East Institute, the new ambassador claimed that U.S. policy in the region was skewed in favor of Israel.

"But in committing itself to work for peace in this region, America must be even-handed," he said, "They must look for a just solution, not only for the sake of the Palestinians and Israelis, but for the sake of the world community."

© 2005 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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