Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz received in Riyadh yesterday U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was on a one-day visit to the Kingdom. Their talks covered international as well as bilateral issues, including that of reform.
At a joint press conference with Secretary Powell, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal referred to the talks as “constructive and important'. Secretary Powell, saying that Saudi-U.S. relations are strong, confirmed that the talks had covered the issues of reform and democracy, and declared: "We are capable of helping other countries to carry out reforms; however, reforms should come from within these countries and should never be imposed from abroad." On the incident of protesters recently detained in Riyadh for incitement and dissension, Prince Saud Al-Faisal commented that those who have pledged that they will no longer exploit the names of others have been released, but those who have refused to make such a pledge will be tried under Shariah [Islamic Law], adding that this is an internal matter. He went on to say that Saudi Arabia has for a long time been carrying out a process of reform in order to satisfy its people and meet the country's needs, but that the timing of the implementation of reforms depends on what is possible and what is achievable, since, he declared, "We want to maintain the unity and cohesion of our society.”