Menu JTA Search

Saudis Say They Want Secure Israel

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The White House said today after the conclusion of the meetings between President Carter and Crown Prince Fahd that Saudi Arabia wants Israel to know that Saudi Arabia wishes the Jewish State to be secure.

Presidential News Secretary Jody Powell made this statement after he was asked what the President meant in saying last night at the White House dinner that he and Fahd share “our purpose” regarding Israel. “The President was alluding to the fact that the Saudi Arabians do wish to reassure the Israelis about their peaceful intentions in the area and we are in harmony on the purpose and goal that a secure State of Israel must be a part of the settlement,” Powell said.

However, when Powell was asked for the extent of Israel’s territory that Saudis envision, Powell said he did not know if the Saudis have changed their views about Israel withdrawing to the 1967 lines. He repeatedly referred to the President as seeing Israel withdrawing “substantially” to the 1967 lines.

Referring to the President’s statements, Powell said the Saudis and the U.S. “see a secure peaceful state of Israel as part of a settlement.” He thought the next step would be to take up the Saudi views with the Israelis. Asked if Fahd was talking for Egypt and Syria, Powell said that “the Saudis did say the other leaders are in agreement with his thoughts.” The leaders of Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt met last week in Riyadh.

Powell said the Palestine Liberation Organization was “certainly mentioned” in the Carter-Fahd talks but he did not know the details. Neither could Powell say what transpired regarding the so-called “legitimate rights of the Palestinians.”

Regarding Israel’s borders, Powell reiterated Carter’s campaign statements that if he were Premier of Israel he would be reluctant to give up the Golan Heights and that the Moslems should have “access” to their holy places in Jerusalem. However, Powell could not say what Carter and Fahd had expressed regarding Jerusalem. “A number of complicated issue were left open,” Powell said.

NEXT STORY