1997 News Story

Prince Sultan on State visit to Spain

Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz. Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, on Monday evening delivered to King Juan Carlos of Spain a message from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz.   Prince Sultan is on a state visit to Madrid, accompanied by Minister of State Dr. Musaid Ibn Muhammad Al-Eiban, Assistant Foreign Minister Abdulrahman Mansouri, Acting Undersecretary for Industrial Affairs at the Ministry of Industry and Electricity Osama Hamza Abu Ghirara, and Undersecretary for Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce Abdulaziz Al-Jasser.  At the audience, Prince Sultan conveyed to the Spanish King and the friendly people of Spain the greetings of King Fahd, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, and the Saudi people.

At a press conference, Prince Sultan made reference to the U.S., British, and French military aircraft which are stationed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and explained that these are operating in line with United Nations Security Council resolutions pertaining to surveillance of the Iraqi government, adding that the Kingdom is appreciative of the role played by the U.S., Britain, and France during the war to liberate Kuwait.  The planes are therefore carrying out an international mission, and have nothing to do with the defense of the Kingdom.    Prince Sultan made it clear that Saudi Arabia is indeed free from the presence of any foreign troops or weaponry, with the exception of the forces of the GCC Al-Gizera Shield.

Referring to the mission of U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as a formidable task, and despite her own apprehension of not being able to realize her goals, Prince Sultan nevertheless hoped that next week's Washington meeting between the Palestinians and the Israelis will yield positive results.  As for the Al-Khobar explosion, Prince Sultan reiterated that investigations are still under way, and the Kingdom is concerned only with ascertaining the true facts of the case.

On the matter of Saudi-Spanish economic relations, Prince Sultan reported his proposal, that a committee of Spanish experts visit the Kingdom and investigate the possibilities, then a Saudi technical committee visit Spain, prior to determining aspects of the cooperation between the two countries, with a meeting of the Saudi-Spanish Joint Commission to be held in Riyadh in two months' time.   At a luncheon  hosted by the Spanish Prime Minister, Prince Sultan described his talks with Spanish officials and businessmen as positive and fruitful, and added that member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were interested in enhancing their relations with Spain.  Prince Sultan also met separately with the Spanish Ministers of Defense and Economy. 

joint communique was issued today.