National Press Club

Saudi prince criticizes Obama over Palestinian UN bid

November 17, 2011 | By Peter J. Hickman |

Saudi Arabian Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saudi speaks at the National Press Club on Nov. 10, 2011.

Saudi Arabian Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saudi speaks at the National Press Club on Nov. 10, 2011.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Saudi Arabian Prince Turki al-Faisal al-Saudi criticized President Obama for not backing the Palestinian bid for UN recognition and said it would lead to frustration in the Middle East.

Obama contradicted his support for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians when he threatened to thwart any move by the Palestinians to have full voting rights at the UN, Al-Faisal said at a Nov 10 Newsmaker event at the National Press Club. Obama's position will not only "cause disappointment" in the Arab world, but will provoke anger and frustration by people who feel they "have been let down," he said.

Al-Faisal also gave a broad assessment of the Middle East and how the recent death of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz might affect Saudi Arabia's internal politics.

Al-Faisal had sharp words for Iran, accusing its leaders of "meddling" in the politics of other Arab nations. Saudi Arabia wants Iran to abandon its goals of building nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia supports tightening sanctions against Iran, but also would support "assertive diplomacy and concerted action in the UN to encourage Tehran to cease is nuclear weapons development," Al-Faisal said.

Saudi Arabia would not support military action against Iran, he said.

"An attack on Iran, I think, would have catastrophic consequences not only in terms of human loss, but also because Iranian retaliation would be worldwide," Al-Faisal said. "It will only make the Iranians more determined to produce an atomic bomb."

Al-Faisal also said there is "ample and heinous evidence" that members of the Iranian government were involved in an alleged assassination plot against the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Abdel al-Jubeir. The Saudi prince urged Iran to prosecute any of its citizens inolved in the plot.