Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz left Brasilia today after a three-day state visit to the Federal Republic of Brazil. On Monday, Crown Prince Abdullah co-chaired with President of Brazil Fernando Henrique Silva Cardoso official talks, during which were discussed relations between the two countries and the global situation, especially the Middle East peace process.
At a luncheon in the Crown Prince's honor, President Cardoso declared that the visit represents a meeting between two peoples who respect and appreciate each other. In his address on the occasion, Crown Prince Abdullah stated: "The great geographical distances that separate our two countries diminishes before our friendly relations, cooperation, human principles and civilized legacy." Relations between Saudi Arabia and Brazil, he said, have been significant, adding that Brazil holds an exemplary status in Latin America, and has played a remarkable role in supporting the issue of security and peace in the world. The Crown Prince went on to say: "Relations between us are based on common principles and concepts in respecting international legitimacy, solving conflicts by peaceful means and supporting issues of peace in the world."
Referring to the Middle East peace process, he declared: "Peace has been and is still a strategic goal and a demand by all Arab and Islamic countries, but Israel is still practicing its methods to maintain occupation of Palestinian and Syrian lands ….. This requires from all honest members of the international community to intervene and urge Israel to respect the international will, honor its legitimate resolutions and the principles of Madrid, and implement the agreements that have been signed with the Palestinians." Turning to Iraq, Crown Prince Abdullah reiterated: "The suffering of our brothers, the Iraqi people, causes pain. Moreover, this suffering has been prompted by their regime's continual rejection of full implementation of the United Nations resolutions."
During his visit, Crown Prince Abdullah also attended a reception by the Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce. In his address, the Crown Prince expressed his happiness at meeting with the Brazilian dignitaries, and observed that there are still opportunities for Brazilian investment in the Kingdom, for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Yesterday, Crown Prince Abdullah received Arab ambassadors accredited to Brazil, and urged them to dedicate their efforts in the service of Arab and Islamic causes. He also met with Brazilian businessmen. Minister of Commerce Osama Ja'afar Faqih and his Brazilian counterpart, Minister of State for Development, Industry and Commerce Mr. Emb Celso Lafer yesterday signed a bilateral agreement to access each others' goods and services, as part of the Kingdom's application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). The agreement is the eighth the Kingdom has signed with its major trading partners, the others being Australia, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, South Korea, Uruguay, and the United States of America.
Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Assaf met yesterday with his Brazilian counterpart Minister of State of Finance Dr. Pedro Sampaio Malan to review aspects of economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries. They also discussed international and economic issues relating to the upcoming annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Dr. Al-Assaf also met yesterday with the chairman of the Brazilian Arab Chamber of Commerce to review economic and investment issues and ways of enhancing cooperation between Saudi and Brazilian businessmen.