Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz left Kuala Lumpur yesterday after an official visit to Malaysia, and arrived in Astana for a four-day state visit to the Republic of Kazakhstan in response to an invitation by Kazakhstani President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev.
Speaking today on the occasion of official talks held with Prime Minister Kazymzhomart Tokayev, Prince Sultan welcomed the cooperation between the two brotherly Islamic countries, and highlighted the current dealings between the two private sectors.
Within the framework of the concern of the Government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz for support of brotherly developing countries, Prince Sultan attended the signing today of an agreement under which the Saudi Fund for Development will participate, together with the Islamic Development Bank and the Government of Kazakhstan, in financing rehabilitation of the Karaganda-Astana road, part of the national highway that links the new capital with the old one [at Almaty].
Prince Sultan, at a lunch hosted in his honor by Prime Minister Tokayev, declared that Saudi Arabia's desire to establish diplomatic relations with Kazakhstan right from its independence [in 1990] is clear evidence of the brotherly ties that link the two countries, adding: "We appreciate Kazakhstan's support for the efforts of those seeking a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East".
Prior to his departure from Malaysia, a joint statement was issued. On Friday, Prince Sultan attended a signing ceremony in Kuala Lumpur for an agreement between Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAA) and the Malaysian Hajj Organization for airlifting pilgrims during the next pilgrimage. Last Hajj season, SAA transported about 40,000 Malaysian pilgrims, out of a total of about 700,000 from over 80 terminals around the world. The SAA fleet, consisting of the most modern of aircraft, can accommodate the performing of prayers on board.
At a dinner party in his honor on Friday evening, attended by Arab Ambassadors accredited to Malaysia, Prince Sultan referred to the steps taken by the extraordinary Arab Summit in Cairo as unique, the Arabs agreeing to stand firm on the principle of land for peace, without deviation from the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, and without subjecting the Holy City of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] to change of any kind. Stressing the importance of coordination of efforts, he declared that Israel would one day be forced to revise its position. He went on to warn against being antagonistic to world powers like the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the People's Republic of China, and the European Union, saying that on the contrary, their support should be sought.