Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, last night attended a dinner party in his honor hosted by U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen. Prince Sultan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, and other members of the high-level Saudi delegation. The event was also attended by U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom Wyche Fowler and other high-ranking U.S. officials.
In a speech on the occasion, the U.S. Defense Secretary said it was an honor to welcome Prince Sultan as a personal delegate of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz. He remarked that he had met with Prince Sultan earlier in the day as Second Deputy Prime Minister in the talks with Vice-President Al Gore, and that tomorrow he would meet with him as Defense and Aviation Minister, adding: “Our meetings here in Washington DC are primarily aimed at preserving and giving more strength to our bilateral ties.”
In his reply, Prince Sultan stated that it was his pleasure to be there as a friend and not as a guest. He expressed his delight at meeting with President Bill Clinton, and said he had found great understanding of and dedication to the on-going relations between the two countries and the two peoples, relations which began forty-five years ago with the meeting between King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt, adding: “This meeting was one of firm friends engaged in the service of their people and the preservation of human rights. Within this framework, this friendship has flourished and continued to grow through differing eras, involving a number of United States Presidents and successive Kings of Saudi Arabia.”
Prince Sultan went on to say: “We are in a disturbed world. We have to understand how people live, and what their aspirations are. We should accord this mission sufficient concentration and study, until we reach the desired goal of peace and security in the world. Today, the United States is the greatest power. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is for two billion Muslims the focus of the kiblah, that is, the direction in which they pray five times a day; and it is the site of the Two Holy Mosques, sacred places of love and brotherhood as well as truthfulness in terms of work and speech.”