HRH Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, arrived today in London on a state visit to the United Kingdom. He was received at Heathrow Airport by HRH the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. A statement issued by the Royal Court yesterday said that the Crown Prince's visit to the U.K. is the first leg of a tour which will also take him to the United States of America as well as to France, China, Japan, South Korea, and Pakistan. These visits come within the framework of enhancing bilateral relations and exchanging views on international issues.
Prior to his departure from Riyadh, Crown Prince Abdullah stated that his seven-nation tour will provide him with a good opportunity to become acquainted with the leaders of these countries and to speak frankly with them on issues of mutual interest, saying that it is the concern of Arabs and Muslims to genuinely advocate their causes and conduct constructive dialogue with others.
Saudi Ambassador to the Court of St. James Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi underscored the importance of the visit of Crown Prince Abdullah to the United Kingdom, remarking that his meetings with Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and leaders of the British political parties would contribute positively to enhancing Saudi-British relations. He referred to Prime Minister Blair's visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia earlier this year, and how it had provided an excellent opportunity to exchange views on a number of issues, particularly that of the peace process in the Middle East. Dr. Al-Gosaibi noted that the value of exports from Saudi Arabia to the U.K. is in the range of nearly one billion pounds sterling (about U.S. $ 1.6 billion), adding that over 30,000 Britons are working in the Kingdom, and that around 2,000 Saudi students and researchers are studying at British universities and institutes. Dr. Al-Gosaibi remarked that Saudi Arabia has been maintaining strong and friendly relations with the U.K. ever since the historical meeting in 1945 between King Abdul Aziz and then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.