German FM Steinmeier meets Saudi counterpart

16th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

16 August 2006, JEDDAH - A strong Lebanese central government is essential for lasting peace in the Middle East, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in Jeddah Wednesday following a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "We share the same hope for peace in the region," Saud said, adding that the standpoints of Saudi Arabia and Germany over the road to peace were very close. Steinmeier expressed thanks to Saud for the "generous announcement" of assistance for the reconstr

16 August 2006

JEDDAH - A strong Lebanese central government is essential for lasting peace in the Middle East, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in Jeddah Wednesday following a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

"We share the same hope for peace in the region," Saud said, adding that the standpoints of Saudi Arabia and Germany over the road to peace were very close.

Steinmeier expressed thanks to Saud for the "generous announcement" of assistance for the reconstruction of Lebanon.

The German foreign minister also justified his decision Tuesday to cancel a trip to Damascus following a televised speech by President Bashar Assad.

Strenuous international efforts were needed to stabilize the "fragile situation" in Lebanon following the ceasefire there, and Syria was essential to this process, Steinmeier said.

"We will now have to wait for signals from Syria, about whether they are considering their own role in the future," he said.

Steinmeier cancelled his Damascus visit after Assad referred to "victorious resistance" in the recent conflict and called Israel an "enemy" that could not take part in the peace process.

Saud declined to comment on Steinmeier's decision.

"We hope that they (Syria) will see the advantage in maintaining a united Arab position," he said in remarks interpreted in Jeddah as expressing criticism of Assad's speech.

Saud said that support for Lebanon was one of the "cornerstones" of Saudi policy. The Lebanese government had to be put in a position to guarantee security for all people in the country.

The Saudi foreign minister gave no definite commitment to participation in the proposed UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon.

"We are not a military country," he said, while urging the international community to provide "generous support" to Lebanon.

Steinmeier said he and Saud were agreed that the conditions for a durable ceasefire in Lebanon should receive international support.

Germany, like Saudi Arabia, was considering what concrete contribution to make, and the German government would put its proposals to parliament, he said.

Steinmeier was speaking at the end of a three-day trip to the region after visiting Jordan on his first stop.

DPA

Subject: German news

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