U.S. Congressmen to Saudi Arabia: Show you want peace with Israel
Last update - 23:07 01/08/2009
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent and Haaretz Service
Tags: U.S., Israel News, Arab
More than 200 congressmen have signed a letter in which they urge Saudi Arabia to show its commitment to reaching peace with Israel, after the Saudi foreign minister on Friday rejected U.S. pleas to improve ties with the country.
"We urge you to assert a strong leadership role and help lead the Middle East to a new era of peace and reconciliation by stepping forward with a dramatic gesture toward Israel," the members of the House of Representatives tell Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in the letter.
During a joint news conference on Friday with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the "incremental" approach used by the United States to get talks rolling would not work.
The U.S. has asked Saudi Arabia to improve its relations with Israel as a way of jump-starting regional peace talks.
In the letter, the congressmen further tell Abdullah that, "We have been disappointed thus far to see the public reaction of your government to President Obama's request.
"Rather than expressing willingness to break down barriers between Arabs and Israelis, your foreign minister asserted that Saudi Arabia could not take any step toward normalization before the return of all Arab land."
Nevertheless, the lawmakers hail an Arab peace initiative launched by Saudi Arabia in 2002 as offering an "important element" in efforts toward peace in the Middle East.