Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre in Riyadh today.
During the meeting, King Abdullah and Støre discussed issues of mutual interest. Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal was also present.
Prince Saud and Støre also met separately today. In a joint press conference, Prince Saud said that the meeting had focused on bilateral relations, including cooperation in petroleum-related matters with the goal of stabilizing international markets.
They also discussed the Middle East peace process, Norway’s humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people, the Iranian nuclear file the crises in Lebanon and Darfur as well as the upcoming international conference for assisting Sudan to be held next month in Oslo. The anticipated signing of a free trade convention between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) was also on the agenda.
Commenting on Lebanon, Prince Saud expressed the hope that Parliament would open on May 13 and Gen. Michel Suleiman elected president as a step towards national unity.
Turning to Iraq, Prince Saud said that Saudi Arabia and Norway share the viewpoint that Iraq must remain unified, safe, prosperous, and independent without foreign interference.
Asked if Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad was planning a visit to the Kingdom, Prince Saud replied, “I have not heard of this news.”
He denied that Arab countries were mediating between Saudi Arabia and Syria. “I think there is no mediation between Syria and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our relations are existing, communications are direct and relations are not complicated. Thus, I think there is no need for external mediation between the two countries,” Prince Saud said.
Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s possible accession to NATO, Prince Saud replied that the matter is under study. NATO officials visited Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials in turn visited NATO, he added.