Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz yesterday received Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, who left Riyadh last night after a one-day official visit to Saudi Arabia. Their talks covered international developments, particularly the current situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process, as well as bilateral relations. Prime Minister Blair also met with Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, with whom he discussed current efforts in the international fight against terrorism, and the urgency of setting up an independent State of Palestine in order to ensure stability and security in the region.
Ambassador to the Court of St. James Dr. Ghazi Al-Quseibi, in a statement on the Prime Minister's departure, commented that Crown Prince Abdullah had praised Tony Blair's efforts to protect members of the Arab and Muslim community in Great Britain, and noted that the two countries are in agreement on ending military operations in Afghanistan as soon as possible as well as reaching a political solution acceptable to the Afghan people through formation of a government that represents all parties. The Crown Prince had made it clear that terrorism cannot be eradicated unless the root causes are removed, and had reiterated the importance of a just solution for the Palestinian problem.
At a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Blair praised the Kingdom's support for the ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, commenting that the Saudi government had responded positively to all requests presented to it in the wake of the September 11 attacks.