Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz was received at the White House yesterday by U.S. President Bill Clinton, to whom, and to the friendly people of the United States of America, he conveyed greetings from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah, and the citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During their talks, President Clinton and Prince Sultan reviewed bilateral relations and discussed the current international situation, including the Middle East peace process. The reception was attended by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Wyche Fowler, and members of Prince Sultan's delegation.
At a press conference following the meeting, asked if he had been briefed by President Clinton on the talks in Oslo, especially concerning the Syrian and Lebanese tracks, Prince Sultan said that the President expressed optimism, and full support for President Hafez Al-Assad of Syria, with the wish that the issue be solved in a just and comprehensive manner, on the basis of the principle of land for peace.
To a question as to whether the talks dealt with economic issues, Prince Sultan referred to yesterday evening's upcoming dinner reception given by the U.S.-Saudi Business Council as an indication of their importance and that there is optimum cooperation between the two countries.
Asked about whether President Clinton raised the issue of Osama Bin Laden, Prince Sultan said that this issue had not been discussed, and that the talks focussed on the good relations between the two countries.
At the White House, Prince Sultan also held talks with Secretary of State Albright, with whom he exchanged cordial talks, discussing international issues including the Middle East. Earlier, Prince Sultan attended a luncheon hosted by the Saudi Military Attache General Abdulaziz Al-Saif. He also met yesterday with the Chairman of the Board of the Raytheon Company.
Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce Osama Faqih met yesterday with U.S. Secretary of Trade William Daley, with whom he reviewed commerce and investment relations between the two countries. In a statement following he meeting, Minister Faqih said the Kingdom is concerned to encourage businessmen in both countries to establish more investment projects as well as to transfer technology and activate joint ventures. Minister Faqih took the opportunity to thank his American counterpart for the way the U.S. administration dealt with the allegations of the dumping of oil that Saudi Arabia recently faced. He went on to point out that trade between the two countries exceeded U.S. $ 20 billion in 1998. There are 265 joint ventures, 88 of them industrial. As for transfer of technology, the United States is the Kingdom's main source, and there are 28 technical programs currently planned, including training of Saudi personnel.