Mr. Wyche Fowler, former Democratic Senator from Georgia, was sworn in yesterday by Vice-President Al Gore as the United States’ Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and plans to travel to Riyadh before the end of the month. He replaces outgoing ambassador Mr. Ray Mabus.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice-President Gore described Saudi-American relations as “based on friendship and respect”, and stated that Ambassador Fowler is not only an advisor to, but a close friend of, both himself and President Bill Clinton. Fowler’s appointment, he said, reflects the President’s desire to further strengthen the existing close relations between the two countries.
For his part, Ambassador Fowler thanked President Clinton for this appointment and referred to the ongoing friendship between the two countries dating from the time of King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt, saying: “We stand firm beside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom stands firm beside us.”
Earlier, a State Department spokesman had stated that President Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher have a great deal of confidence in Ambassador Fowler, who served in the United States Congress and Senate in the 1970s and 1980s. He referred to Riyadh as one of the most important ambassadorships anywhere in the world, given the importance of relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He added that the United States has interest in the stability of the Kingdom and in a close relationship with it and its leadership, and that clearly the policies that have been so successful over the years will continue.