Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, in a press statement to Al-Siyasah newspaper published in Kuwait today, stressed the importance of settling the twin problems of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque, which constitute the major cause of tension in the region. Nevertheless, he criticized those who use the Palestinian issue for other motives, as Saddam Hussein did in alleging that his occupation of Kuwait was aimed at liberating the Palestinians. He went on to say that the Mitchell report should be implemented, and that once the issue of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] is settled, the phenomenon of terrorism can be contained.
Prince Sultan pointed out that the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington could have serious repercussions, given that the terrorists proved themselves capable of penetrating U.S. security systems. He then posed the question as to whether Osama bin Ladin's organization was the only group involved in these terrorist acts, or whether another force with higher technical experience participated in them. As regards the impact of the attacks on the Kingdom' s internal situation, he said there is nothing to be worried about, adding that the Al-Khobar explosion was an isolated incident, not linked with international events.
Concerning further cooperation among the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Prince Sultan noted that Saudi Arabia is presenting military proposals for the Al-Jazeerah Shield and is promoting the establishment of a unified force capable of protecting any GCC member state.
Referring to the U.S. administration's "deep understanding of the progress of historical relations between the Kingdom and the United States", Prince Sultan criticized certain American institutions of public opinion. Saudis, he said, turn deaf ears to the American media's spiteful criticism of Saudi Arabia, added that Saudi newspapers are capable of refuting all allegations and biased reports.
The Saudi economy, Prince Sultan reported, is good, and is steadily growing and developing. He praised the role being played by the private sector, and remarked on the Saudi industrial products now appearing in non-Arab as well as Arab markets. He urged all citizens to take advantage of the investment opportunities available in their country, and highlighted the stable conditions in the Kingdom.