2000 News Story

French defense minister in Jeddah for talks

Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector-General Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz met in Jeddah yesterday with visiting French Defense Minister Alain Richard. Speaking on the occasion, Prince Sultan referred to the relations between the two countries that date back to King Faisal and President de Gaulle, and the arms deal of 1968. Since then, Saudi students have gone to French universities, and French experts have come to the Kingdom as training instructors. Minister Richard was received yesterday by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz.

At a joint press conference last night, Prince Sultan said the Kingdom's military policy is based on whatever maintains the security and development of its people, serves its holy places, and contributes to the cause of the Arab and Islamic worlds, adding that Saudi Arabia is not tied down to any specific country in the area of armaments.
To a question on France signing an agreement to supply the Kingdom with Leclerc tanks and ground defense systems, Prince Sultan replied that Saudi Arabia has for the past thirteen years researched the addition of these tanks to its armed forces, and in any case seeks to realize the economic offset program signed by the two countries, similar to those with the United States and the United Kingdom.