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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 27, 1990

RECORD OF CONVERSATION BETWEEN M. S. GORBACHEV AND THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF SAUDI ARABIA, S. AL FAISAL

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Gorbachev and Al Faisal discuss ongoing crisis caused by the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
    "Record of Conversation between M. S. Gorbachev and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, S. Al Faisal," November 27, 1990, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118988
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RECORD OF A CONVERSATION

between M.S. Gorbachev and the Minister of Foreign Affairs

of Saudi Arabia, S. Al Faisal

27 November 1990

M.S. GORBACHEV.  I am happy to welcome you, Mr. Minister.  

We are feeling satisfied that such mutual understanding, trust, and cooperation has already manifested itself at the very first stages of full-fledged diplomatic relations.  It turns out that a solid potential was accumulating earlier so that today we can take broad steps in our relations.

I have talked with President Bush and to other Western leaders more than once about what would have happened in the world if the events in Eastern Europe and the Persian Gulf had occurred 7-10 years ago.  It is even difficult to imagine what kind of collisions could have occurred then.

Probably both God and Allah suggested that we hurry to establish diplomatic relations just in time.  Now we can discuss the most pressing problem - the situation in the Persian Gulf - in a frank and confidential atmosphere and act in the spirit of cooperation.

Tell me, Mr. Minister, what concerns the king, you, and all of the Saudi leaders in the current situation?

S. AL FAISAL.  I thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity you have afforded me to meet with you, despite your involvement with multiple problems.

It is true that if there had not been a thaw in international relations, a decisive service whose achievement belongs to the Soviet Union, then the events which took place in the Persian Gulf would have become a real catastrophe.  The unprecedented international solidarity shown in the cause of resisting Iraqi aggression is first and foremost the result of the policy of new thinking conducted by the Soviet Union under your leadership, Mr. President.  Every country is reaping the fruits of this policy, including Saudi Arabia.  

What worries us?  Despite all of the efforts which have been undertaken to attain a political settlement of the situation which arose in the region after 2 August, including the active efforts of your country, Iraq is continuing its policy as before of strengthening the results of its aggression, and in doing so is ignoring the will of the UN and of the entire international community.

In consideration of the close character of the relations which existed between Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Soviet Union - of course, with those ties’ different characters - what Baghdad has done in relation to Kuwait cannot be characterized as anything other than treachery.  

At present, the position of the Iraqi leadership on the issue of settling the crisis boils down to the following basic elements.  Baghdad as before is standing by its initiative of 12 August of this year which, as you know, stipulates a “package” resolution of all the problems of the Middle East.  Iraq is ready to develop this initiative, although only on the basis of direct negotiations with Saudi Arabia and the US.  We are asking ourselves: is this audacity or something else?  But these proposals really are being put forward by the Iraqis, a point about which we are being ignored, in particular, by various Arab parties.  

[Subsequent pages omitted in the original.]