WASHINGTON – Saudi Arabia asked President Bush on Sunday to intervene in Israel’s military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon to stop the mounting deaths.
“We requested a cease-fire to allow for a cessation of hostilities,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said after an Oval Office meeting with Bush.
Saud said he gave the president a letter from Saudi King Abdullah asking that Bush help seek an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East conflict.
Saud; the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal; and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, chief of the Saudi National Security Council, met with Bush for more than an hour Sunday.
The White House had no immediate comment on the meeting.
For years, the Saudis have been among the United States’ closest allies in the Arab world.
Saudi Arabia is among several moderate Arab countries that have worried about expanding influence in the Middle East by Iran, which created Hezbollah and has helped train and finance the organization. On the other hand, the nations cannot afford to appear too supportive of American or Israeli interests for fear of alienating their own citizens.
Saud spoke to reporters outside the West Wing as he left the White House.
“There is only one problem in this crisis: It is Lebanon, and the inability of Lebanon to exercise its sovereignty over its territory,” Saud said. “Everybody who needs to help, who must help, should help.”