CNN International: Interview with Prince Saud Al-Faisal (Excerpts)

June 19, 2007

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

MICHAEL HOLMES: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, a key player in the Middle East politics, says he fears the conflict in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon and, of course, Iraq could explode into a global crisis. King Abdullah was speaking to a newspaper in Spain on the first leg of a European tour.

Well, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal is with him. He joins us now from Madrid. And we're going to spend a lot of time talking with you about events in Middle East.

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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: My position hasn't changed, and that is all options are on the table. I would hope that we can solve this diplomatically.


HOLMES: Now continuing our conversation with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Prince Saud Al-Faisal. You heard there what President Bush said this morning, Your Excellency -- all options are on the table. How do you think a nuclear Iran should be handled by the US?

PRINCE SAUD AL-FAISAL: Nuclear proliferation is something that has to work on everybody. There can be no exception and maintain the rule of nuclear -- no nuclear proliferation.

Unfortunately you can't turn a blind eye to one country and expect the issue of nonproliferation to go away. Once a blind eye was turned to Israel it made for proliferation in the region.

We want a region free of nuclear bombs. We want that and we are hopeful that Iran will also want the same thing, and in order to do that the whole region must be free of nuclear weapons.

HOLMES: Are you saying then that as long as Israel has a nuclear capability then the world can't ask Iran to not have it?

PRINCE SAUD: No, I'm saying that if we want to prevent proliferation we must make it a systematic way, because who wants an atomic bomb? Either a country that wants to threaten its neighbor, or a country that wants to protect itself from its neighbors. And in both cases, they must be diffused. And the only way to do that is to have a nuclear-free region.

HOLMES: But Israel is not giving up its nuclear capability. Sir, Israel's not giving it up?

PRINCE SAUD: Well, why not? I mean, is there a special case for Israel that it can use whatever weapons that are available, and nobody else can use them?

HOLMES: Well, that's exactly the situation.

PRINCE SAUD: Why the exception?

HOLMES: Israel is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons. If it does not give up its nuclear capability, should Iran be stopped from having a nuclear capability? Would Saudi Arabia consider having a nuclear capability?

PRINCE SAUD: We are assured by Iran that they are not looking for a nuclear capability. We hope that assurance comes through. We don't think it's justification for establishing nuclear capability for Israel to have it. But in order to have a free zone from nuclear weapons, Israel must give up or puts its program under the auspices of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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