Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz gave a press conference yesterday following the graduation ceremonies for the 15th batch of students from the Institute of Military Industries at Al-Kharj in Riyadh Province.
On the situation in the Middle East, Prince Sultan expressed the hope that all the positive initiatives started by the United States and the countries of the European Union result in an end to the fighting and a return to negotiation. "We support our Palestinian brothers", he declared, "morally and politically. We should take a joint stance against those commercial companies, both western and eastern, that do business with Israel, by refusing to deal with them."
Concerning the protest lodged by Iraq at the United Nations, Prince Sultan confirmed Saudi Arabia's ownership of the pipeline in question, and all the territory it passes through; the protest, he said, is totally unjustified.
In reply to a question on the government providing university and employment opportunities for the two hundred thousand students who graduated from secondary school this year, Prince Sultan commented that the private sector should be working in cooperation with the state. At the same time, he said, the government has plans to broaden the range of educational facilities at university level. In addition, he urged young Saudis to take up the simple vocational jobs that are currently carried out by expatriates.
Referring to the recent announcement by U.S. authorities of a list of 13 persons accused of the bombings in Al-Khobar, Prince Sultan said the search is still under way.