Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Wednesday called for a comprehensive solution on Iran and to disarm its affiliate Hezbollah in Lebanon, and expressed support for US efforts to start talks between Israel and Palestinian Arabs, Reuters reported.
Speaking for the first time before the United Nations General Assembly, he said Iran has exploited the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers “to intensify its expansionist activities, create its terrorist networks, and use terrorism,” adding that this had produced nothing but “chaos, extremism, and sectarianism.”
“A comprehensive solution and a firm international position are required,” he told the 193-member General Assembly in a video statement, prerecorded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our experience with the Iranian regime has taught us that partial solutions and appeasement did not stop its threats to international peace and security,” King Salman added, according to Reuters.
US President Donald Trump quit the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and has since reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Trump asserts that all countries also have to reinstate UN sanctions in an attempt to push the Islamic Republic to negotiate a new deal, but the remaining parties to the nuclear deal have rejected the demand.
The King also commented on attempts to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, saying the 2002 Arab peace initiative is the basis for a “comprehensive and just solution” ensuring the Palestinians obtain an independent state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.
“We support the efforts of the current US administration to achieve peace in the Middle East by bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiation table to reach a fair and comprehensive agreement,” he said.
The king stopped short of endorsing recent US-brokered agreements by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to establish ties with Israel.
Last week, US President Donald Trump told reporters that many more countries are on the way to reaching new peace deals in the Middle East.
Asked if he expected Saudi Arabia to follow suit, Trump said "I do. I spoke with the king of Saudi Arabia." He added the move would come "at the right time."
The President recently said he expected Saudi Arabia to join the Israel-UAE deal. A senior member of the Saudi royal family later stressed that Saudi Arabia’s price for normalizing relations with Israel is the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
King Salman reiterated that position during a recent conversation with Trump, saying there would be no normalization with Israel without Palestinian statehood.