1999 News Story

Prince Sultan on State visit to Iran

At a press conference yesterday, Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector-General, attributing the great respect earned by Saudi Arabia to its distinguished role at the Arab, Islamic and international levels under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, underlined the importance of implementing Islamic Shariah [Law] and urged other Muslim countries to follow the Kingdom's example in this.

Concerning the feasibility of forming an Islamic Defense Force, Prince Sultan said this was a good idea, and one to be discussed by the various Islamic organizations. He added that it would be a positive development if Muslims, who constitute one third of the world's population, could develop a non-aggressive force to serve the cause of security in the Muslim world.

Asked if Iraq was discussed at his meeting with Iranian officials, he said this issue concerns the entire international community, adding that Saudi Arabia sympathizes with the Iraqi people and is concerned for their welfare.
On the problem in the Balkans, Prince Sultan said the Kingdom has been urging the entire world and in particular the Muslims to unwaveringly extend support to the people of Kosovo.
When he arrived in Tehran on Saturday evening on his state visit to Iran, Prince Sultan told pressmen that Saudi Arabia deplores the criminal ethnic cleansing policy adopted by the Serbs against the people of Kosovo, and emphasized the Kingdom's unwavering support to the Kosovar refugees, providing them with physicians, tents, food and medical supplies.  He expressed the hope that other Muslim countries will follow this example and work for confrontation of the Serbs' criminal practices.
At that press conference, Prince Sultan explained that no deep-rooted differences had ever existed between Saudi Arabia and Iran, only differences of viewpoints on certain issues. Asked about the possibility of discussing the issue of the three islands, he said he had not been delegated by the GCC to review this, adding that he believes the existing differences can be resolved through direct dialogue or international arbitration.
Welcoming Prince Sultan, Iranian Vice President Dr. Hassan Habibie expressed the hope that his visit to Iran visit would be successful and contribute positively to further enhancing bilateral relations, and pointed out that coordination on the issue of oil had yielded positive results.