Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal gave a press conference in Dallas, Texas, yesterday, following the talks in Crawford between Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and U.S. President George W. Bush, which, he said, would have a positive impact on Saudi-American relations. These relations go back over 60 years, and are based on the principles of mutual respect and mutual interests.
Prince Saud commented that Crown Prince Abdullah and President Bush had discussed not only bilateral relations but other issues such as the problems of Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon. He quoted President Bush as saying that he was concerned about restoring peace to the Middle East and establishing two independent states: Palestine and Israel. It seemed, he said, that the U.S. President would follow through on this. He confirmed that Crown Prince Abdullah had spoken of the roadmap and the Arab peace initiative. On the Lebanese issue, Prince Saud said both Saudi Arabia and the United States hope that the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon will pave the way for a transitional government to be established and for elections to be held in that country.
On oil, Prince Saud reiterated the Kingdom’s concern to serve the interests of both oil consumers and oil producers, adding that the U.S. government had expressed appreciation for the Saudi policy in this respect. On the Saudi-U.S. Commission, he confirmed that it will be co-chaired by the two officials concerned with foreign affairs, and deal with bilateral relations. It will hold one meeting each year, alternately in the two countries. On the Kingdom’s admission to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Prince Saud said an agreement in this respect is about to be reached, with only some technical issues pending. Prince Saud made it clear that no Saudi domestic affairs were discussed during the talks.
The talks, said Prince Saud, included the situation in Iraq, and the importance of participation by all concerned parties in the political solution of the problem. He noted that the Americans had reiterated their concern for preservation of the unity and independence of Iraq and the establishment of a government that is capable of managing Iraq’s affairs.
Prince Saud confirmed that Crown Prince Abdullah has extended an invitation to President George W. Bush to visit the Kingdom, and the date of the visit will be fixed later. The Vice-President and the Secretary of State will also visit Saudi Arabia, in addition to exchanges of ministers and officials of the two countries.