Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz left Sanaa today after a three-day state visit to the Republic of Yemen, during which he held talks with President Ali Abdullah Salih and led the Saudi delegation at the 13th session of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia and Yemen signed a number of agreements, on information cooperation, marine and overland transportation of both freight and passengers, and the Kingdom's contribution to development projects in Yemen. While in Sanaa, Prince Sultan laid the foundation stone of the Saudi German Hospital.
The communiqué issued today by the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council confirmed the cooperation between the two sides, praising the decision of the Saudi Development Fund (SDF) to implement in Yemen development projects worth U.S. $300 million; the bilateral endeavor to complete final review of the agreements on customs tariffs and on investment protection; the resolution to study the possibility of establishing a duty free trade zone between the two countries; and the signing of the agreement on marine and land transportation of passengers and goods. The two sides also agreed to implement agreements reached by their ministers of education, and to cooperate in the area of petroleum and minerals through exchange of information regarding exploration for natural wealth along the border area. They welcomed the understanding reached by the electricity ministers on a common electricity grid, agreed that economic and commercial bases be applied to all relevant agreements, encouraged investors from both countries to enter the power sector and avail themselves of high-quality Saudi industrial products, including distribution networks and electric transformers, and endorsed the training of Yemeni technicians in specialized Saudi institutes. The two parties welcomed the signing of the executive program for media and information cooperation, and underscored the importance of cooperation between the ministries of foreign affairs in regional and international arenas, calling for Arab solidarity and a better future for inter-Arab relations.
The communiqué declared Israel responsible for the current setback in the Middle East peace process; called for Israeli to halt air raids over Palestinian territories, pull back to the line of June 1967, and remove all settlements; and urged the international community to shoulder its responsibility for the safety of the Palestinian people, expressing support of their intifada as legitimate resistance to Israeli occupation. It also stressed the importance of making the Middle East free of all weapons of mass destruction, and of Israel joining the Treaty for Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and opening all its nuclear facilities to international inspection.