Secretary [Rice] must not have found some of the foreign minister's comments to the press very respectful or friendly, since they were labeled "unintelligible" in a State Department transcript of the event.
According to the State Department, al-Faisal said in his opening statement:
The Kingdom is keen on achieving peace in Iraq and maintaining its unity and stability. However, the success of these efforts are tied to achieving social stability, equality, and representation for all of Iraq’s people and all of the ethnic and religious groups there. Iraq bears a responsibility to (unintelligible).
So what does Iraq bear a great responsibility to do?
Reuters reports al-Faisal as saying: "The Iraqi government has a great responsibility ... to stop foreign interference."
It's as if US diplomats have a self-enforced collective deafness to the common Arab opinion that the presence of American troops in Iraq equals unwanted foreign occupation.
Lest anyone argue the Saudi foreign minister didn't speak clearly when discussing Iraqi responsibilities, it would be most telling to point out the three other instances when he apparently mumbled during the press conference.
When discussing "international efforts" to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Faisal said:
Israel must prove its seriousness in dealing with these efforts by taking concrete steps away from political maneuvering and has to work effectively away from (unintelligible)
And regarding US-Saudi talks on Lebanon:
We have also discussed the Lebanese issue and the situation of tension, especially (unintelligible).
The Saudi foreign minister may wish to seek help for his apparent speech impediment before negotiating with American diplomats again.
It's very difficult to take these people seriously.