In response to a kind invitation of King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid an official visit to Kingdom of Spain on June 5-8, 2008.
Crown Prince Sultan held meetings with King Juan Carlos I of Spain, Prince of Asturias Felipe de Borbon, Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero in a cordial atmosphere during which bilateral relations were reviewed in addition to the international and regional issues of mutual concern.
In assertion of developing bilateral relations between the two countries and within the framework of the strategic relations between them, the two sides reviewed bilateral relations in all fields and expressed their satisfaction and pride of deep relations binding the two friendly countries. The two sides expressed their satisfaction over the big opportunities available and emerged as a result of the leading position occupied by economies of the two countries in their regions. They highlighted the strength and firmness of economies of the two countries and the distinguished growth recently achieved by them.
Affirming the mutual trust between the two sides, they pledged to concentrate their efforts on the optimal utilization of their potentials in commercial, industrial, investment, financial and economic fields. The two sides also agreed on the importance of further promotion of the economic relations between the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the European Union.
In this context, the two sides expressed their hope in reaching as soon as possible an agreement of free trade zone between them. The two sides expressed their satisfaction over signing the memorandum of understanding during this visit between Ministry of Defense and Aviation in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ministry of Defense in Kingdom of Spain in the field of defense.
The two sides emphasized the importance of enhancing mutual Saudi-Spanish efforts to support the peace process and to achieve stability in the Middle East. They stressed the importance of foundations stated in Annapolis Conference in launching the comprehensive peace process in the Middle East. They look forward to achieving more positive steps for peace in the Middle East on clear and firm bases and commitment to dealing with the main issues of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to reach the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the framework of the comprehensive, lasting and just solution to the Middle East issue. The negotiations between the two parties shall be based on the principles and resolutions of the international legitimacy, the Arab peace initiative and the Road Map plan.
They also affirmed the importance of mechanism of following up the negotiations to ensure fulfillment of the conflicting parties of the mutual commitments, calling on the international community to provide the means and facilities for the Palestinian national authority to assist the Palestinian people. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expressed its deep appreciation of the efforts of Kingdom of Spain in this respect.
Regarding the Lebanese affairs, the two sides welcomed the agreement reached in Qatari capital of Doha between the Lebanese parties which led to electing General Michel Suleiman as President of Lebanon. They appealed for supporting the Lebanese government, unifying the national decision in Lebanon and keenness on the legitimacy of the state of Lebanon according to provisions of Al-Taif agreement and sessions of the national dialogue. They also call for supporting the control of the state and its national institutions over all Lebanese territories, for cooperation to implement the international legitimacy resolutions including the resolution of the security council No. 1701 and for the necessity that all Lebanese work on unification of Lebanese ranks, enhancement of security and stability and dominance of wisdom, reason and language of dialogue.
The two countries stressed their commitment to help the Iraqi people and to exert efforts to achieve security and stability in Iraq. They agreed that the national reconciliation between all Iraqi strata, expansion of the political process to achieve participation of all classes of Iraqi people and disbanding various militias constitute important bases for Iraq's stability. The two sides asserted the importance of respecting Iraq's sovereignty, independence, identity, territorial integrity and non intervention in its internal affairs.
With regard to Iran's nuclear file, the two sides called on the international community to exert efforts to solve this file through diplomatic means. They demand that all Middle East countries join the Convention of non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and make the region free of mass destruction weapons according to the international resolutions in this regard.
The two sides reviewed the efforts exerted to combat terrorism and asserted their condemnation of all its forms that threaten security, peace and stability all over the world. They agreed on the importance of intensifying the international cooperation for fighting it. In this framework, Spain valued the proposal of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud to establish an International Anti-Terrorism Center. The two sides expressed their satisfaction over the current cooperation in the field of security in combating terrorism and the organized crime and agreed on expediting completion of procedures of signing a security agreement between the two countries.
The two sides expressed their rejection of the idea of clash of civilizations and appealed for supporting the initiatives calling for peaceful coexistence. They welcomed alliance of civilizations and the initiative of the United Nations, whose first forum was held at the beginning of this year 2008. The Spanish side highlighted the momentous importance of the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud concerning dialogue between religions. They agreed to work together to disseminate culture of mutual respect, understanding and interaction between the Arab and Islamic world and the western world. The two sides welcomed the convention of the first forum of Alliance of Civilizations in the Spanish capital at the beginning of this year 2008.
Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector General has expressed his deep appreciation for the warm welcome, generous hospitality, sincere feelings accorded to him and the accompanying delegation by King Juan Carlos I of Spain; Prince of Asturias, Felipe de Borbon; Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.