U.S. again calls on Arab nations to reach out to Israel

By Xinhua

Riyadh : The United States here Tuesday once again called on Arab nations to do more to reach out to Israel to do their part to nudge a Mideast peace accord into being.

Support TwoCircles

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who accompanied President George W. Bush in his visit to Saudi Arabia as part of his eight-day Mideast tour, made the call at a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.

The United States wants Arab nations to do more as we have believed that it will be important for the regional states to do everything possible to encourage the peace process, she said, adding “there should be efforts to reach out to the Israelis as this process goes forward.”

Asked whether the outreach should include establishing diplomatic relations between Arab countries and Israel, Rice replied that it will move at different speeds for different countries as diplomatic relations is another matter and undoubtedly down the road.

In a statement delivered in Jerusalem last week, Bush had used his recent regional visit to push for wider Arab involvement in helping Israel and the Palestinians reach a peace deal, saying “I call upon the Arab countries to reach out to Israel, a step that is long overdue.”

Bush flew into the Saudi capital on Monday afternoon after visiting the United Arab Emirates. It was the first visit to Saudi Arabia by Bush since he took office in 2001.

Saudi King Abdullah and Bush held a round of official talks at the King’s palace in Riyadh later on Monday on the developments of events in the Middle East, particularly the developments in the Palestinian issue in light of U.S.-hosted Annapolis conference last November, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

They also reviewed the international efforts to achieve peace in the region and enable the Palestinian people of their right to establish their independent state according to the road map, Arab peace initiative and international legitimacy resolutions, SPA added.

After the kingdom, Bush will also visit Egypt on Wednesday, the last leg of his eight-day Middle East regional tour.