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Saudi Arabia rejects recognition before Israel leaves Arab land

Last Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 11:49

Riyadh: Regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia on Wednesday rebuffed US calls for diplomatic overtures toward Israel and said the Jewish state`s settlement expansion is jeopardising efforts to revive peace talks.
"It is Israel that has to move seriously towards the peace process," Saudi Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali said.

"As we all know, Israel is continuing to take unilateral measures by changing the geographic and demographic facts on the ground, by building settlements and expanding the existing ones," he said.

Nugali said Israeli settlement expansion on occupied Arab land continues to impede any progress toward a lasting two-state solution between the Palestinians and Israelis.

"We have been seeing a schizophrenic Israeli policy. On one hand you talk about peace and their interest to achieve peace," he said. "On the other hand they take actions against the peace process that complicate it and put it in jeopardy."

His comments came amid a concerted US push towards restarting comprehensive Middle East peace negotiations involving Israel and its neighbours Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians.

US Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and US National Security Advisor James Jones have been meeting leaders in the region this week.

Bureau Report

First Published: Thursday, July 30, 2009 - 11:49
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