At a press conference today on the occasion of the inauguration of the Kingdom's Strategic Petroleum Storage Project, Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, revealed that the idea originally came from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz. He also commented that in addition to the five locations mentioned (Riyadh, Jeddah, Madinah, Abha and Qassim Province) storage facilities for petroleum reserves, both surface and underground, already exist in the Eastern Province.
Asked about the possibility of similar storage facilities for reserves of foodstuffs and for medicine, Prince Sultan stated that meetings are planned with the Ministers of Health and of Planning in order to study the feasibility of this.
To a question on Iraq, Prince Sultan replied that he discounted Iraqi threats to Saudi Arabia and to Kuwait, saying: "We will never accept these threats and do not pay much attention to them because they do not come from wise human beings who care for the benefit of the Arab and Islamic worlds, nor even for their own country." As for the Iraqi opposition and its efforts to overthrow the ruling regime in Iraq, he said that this is the concern of the Iraqi people, and Saudi Arabia does not give support to any opposition anywhere in the world.
Referring to the visit to the Kingdom by the Kuwaiti Crown Prince, Prince Sultan said coordination among the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is ongoing, particularly within the framework of the Al-Jazirah (Peninsula) Shield Project. He denied both that the Kingdom is delaying its weapons projects, and that there is a freeze on armed forces projects, explaining that there is merely a re-scheduling of agreements, as is common everywhere. As for South Africa, he stated that no agreement has as yet been signed.
In reply to a question on Yemen, Prince Sultan stated that border negotiations are on the right track and progressing for the benefit of both countries.