Saudi Arabia's foreign policy advisor said Sunday that peace in the Middle East is possible if Israel withdraws to its 1967 borders.
Appearing on the television program Fox News Sunday, Saudi foreign policy advisor Adel al-Jubeir said that in exchange for total withdrawal from occupied land, including Jerusalem, Israel would gain the recognition and normalization of relations with its Arab neighbors.
Mr. al-Jubeir called the proposal a "statement of a vision" by Crown Prince Abdullah. "The importance of it is it sends a signal to the Israeli public by telling them that peace with the broader Arab world is possible should they make peace with their neighbors," he said. "It also sends a message to the peace camps in both Israel and the United States not to lose hope and that peace is possible and that we should re-energize our efforts." Mr. al-Jubeir says the idea was positively received in the Arab media and by Arab leaders, including Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.
Meanwhile, Prince Abdullah, reportedly upset with Israel's continued hard line against Palestinians, cancelled a speech he planned to give at the Arab Summit the end of March in Beirut outlining a peace proposal.
On another topic, the Saudis are of two minds about a U.S. base on their soil. On one hand, the country is a close American ally. On the other, the government worries the U.S. presence could set off a wave of terrorism.
Also appearing on the television program Fox News Sunday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers was asked if there's been any change in the U.S. Saudi relationship. "We've had a strategic interest that goes a long way back," he replied. "That relationship is still valid, still working."
"The Saudis could always ask us to leave," he said, adding that "we have no signs at this point that that's the case."
Vice President Dick Cheney is headed to the Middle East where he will likely discuss Saudi concerns about the U.S. presence, as well as any new peace initiatives.