Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, in a comprehensive interview with Director-General and Editor-in-Chief of the Omani News Agency Muhammad Bin Salem Al-Marhoun, described the sixteenth summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as especially important in view of current regional and international developments. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he said, had made efforts to resolve all types of differences among GCC members, and this reflects the sincere fraternal feelings of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the Saudi government and people. Prince Abdullah remarked: “Personally, I am sorry that we call them disputes, because there should be no disputes among brothers ..... the interests of our peoples and their future lies in eliminating all [the disputes] that we inherited which can be overcome by fraternal spirit”, adding that in this era of strong blocs stances need to be reconsidered in view of shared Islamic values and joint history and destiny.
Prince Abdullah referred to the close and distinguished ties between Saudi Arabia and Oman as expected to grow based on religion, pan-arabism, and the fraternal relations between the two peoples. The great development achieved in the Sultanate of Oman under Sultan Qaboos, he said, has surpassed all expectations and we are all proud of it.
Explaining its importance because of the regional and international changes, Prince Abdullah said that the Muscat summit should be accompanied by wider calculations and visions in order to cope with scientific, political and economic developments. Commenting that shrinking global geography makes the world seem like a single household and provides no room for isolation, a fact that must be realized by the Arab and Islamic nations, Prince Abdullah said: “Our Gulf states must be aware of the dangers of this, and of the implications for security, economic and political development.”
Responding to a question on the recent cabinet reshuffle in Saudi Arabia, the largest of its kind for many years, he said that it coincided with Saudi policies aiming at the realization of welfare and prosperity for the Saudi people and as a result of being aware of political, economic, social and security realities in a constantly changing world. Asked about the Saudi strategy for diversifying sources of income through a greater contribution to the development plans by the private sector, he said that the Kingdom was trying, after making accurate calculations, to take serious steps to achieve development by enhancing industry and agriculture, and by enabling experts to take up appropriate positions.
Concerning the outcome of the work by the Saudi-Yemeni joint committees, Prince Abdullah confirmed that Saudi perceptions about the Yemeni leadership and people are similar to those of Yemen about the Saudi leadership and people.
To a question about his expectations regarding oil prices in the near future and the effects of Iraq’s return to the oil markets, Prince Abdullah prayed to Allah that the harshness of life for the Iraqi people be alleviated, and they be enabled to win their freedom and unity, possession of which would allow them to utilize every drop of oil in their country.
Regarding issues which should receive greater attention from the GCC in future, he expressed the hope that the Council would have a bright future, remaining active and ever more able to cope with various regional and international events and changes. Asked about comprehensive and durable peace in the Middle East, Prince Abdullah called peace a fixed principle and said: “Peace, as you know, is the way a Muslim greets others. This was the message brought by humanity and Islam, to achieve peace on earth”, adding that “we look forward to a just peace among nations, free from domination or injustice against legitimate rights. If the fair requirements of peace were made available in this region, everybody would be happy with it.” There can be no security, stability or prosperity, he averred, without peace, therefore those who want peace must not deceive themselves or be deceived by events.