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Old Tuesday, January 15, 2008
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Default Solve Palestinian Issue Now, Says Sarkozy

Solve Palestinian Issue Now, Says Sarkozy

RIYADH, 15 January 2008 — French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who paid a visit to the 150-member Shoura Council yesterday, expressed urgency at resolving the Palestinian-Israeli issue.

“Now is the time to solve the Palestinian issue,” he told a full house following an introduction by Shoura President Sheikh Saleh Bin-Humaid. “We should not wait 10 or 20 years to find a solution to this problem.”

Sarkozy said he was hopeful that a just and peaceful solution be provided to establish a sovereign Palestinian state. He called on the international community to exert all possible efforts to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.

In a speech and visit ultimately aimed at promoting stronger trade ties between Saudi Arabia and France, Sarkozy took time to pay tributes to the historical influences by Muslims on Western society. He rejected the idea that Islam is the cause of terrorism.

“Both countries are striving to avoid a clash of civilizations,” he said. “They both have cultural significances, which imply that they promote justice and peace.”

The French leader stressed the importance of not criticizing a religious belief because of the actions of terrorists.

“Terrorists are using religion as a justification for their causes,” he said. “Terrorism is generated from radicalism and fanaticism. It has nothing to do with religion.”

Sarkozy highlighted the role played by the Kingdom, under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, in serving just causes. “The balanced and just role played by the Kingdom does not only have regional importance, but also an international one,” he said.

The president gave the example of King Abdullah’s Arab Peace Initiative that was endorsed by Arab states.

Another example, he cited, was the historic meeting between King Abdullah and the Pope during the king’s visit to the Vatican last year.

“When King Abdullah meets the Pope, that initiative has a great importance on the future of peace and civilization ... even more significant than international conferences,” Sarkozy said.

He said the move illustrated the Kingdom’s policy of openness toward others. “By making this historic meeting, he has proven to the world that this is not the time for clash of civilizations and cultures,” said Sarkozy.

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