Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz was interviewed yesterday by the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Arabic Service. Giving thanks to God for the monarch’s restored health, he pointed out that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz had given an audience to a number of officials just two days earlier, and is running the affairs of state as they should be run. Asked about Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz deputizing for the King, he stressed that during this period there was no difference in the running of state affairs, and stated that everything is proceeding well and according to all regulations.
In response to a question about reports criticizing the Saudi human rights record on account of executions, mainly of foreigners, Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom follows the laws of God, and applies Islamic shari’ah to all those who live in the state, regardless of their nationality, color, or creed. He affirmed that the Kingdom would continue to apply shari’ah and would not shirk any discussion of this issue with anyone who wishes to conduct an objective dialogue on the matter. Asked about the effects of the Maasari affair on relations between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, he said that such ties are not built around individuals who claim to be speaking for the people. He observed that the Saudi people enjoy stability and that those persons left their homes voluntarily, unharmed, and with their families and their wealth. He said that businessmen are free to pursue any business with any country they choose.
Commenting on the delay in reaching a final settlement with Yemen, Prince Sultan said Saudi Arabia is interested in having good relations with Yemen as a sisterly country, adding that bilateral committees are working quietly and with good sense towards reaching an agreement on their mutual border.
Asked about Qatar’s approval in the matter of the new Secretary-General of the GCC, he said that this appointment became final with the issuance of the decision at the Muscat Summit, and pointed out that Saudi Arabia has full respect for the brotherly Qataris and their views, not about the nomination, but about the procedures. He stressed that there are no border disputes between Saudi Arabia and Qatar and referred to the agreement reached between the two countries in Madinah over 25 years ago. Asked about Qatar’s relations with Israel, he said Saudi Arabia is committed to the issue of Jerusalem and although peace with Israel is proceeding well, there are other issues that must be settled such as the rights of the Palestinian people and the occupied Syrian and Lebanese lands.