At the conclusion of their sixth meeting, which was held in Riyadh, the Saudi-Syrian Joint Commission today issued a statement underscoring the close fraternal relations and deep-rooted ties binding the two Arab countries, and reviewing bilateral cooperation in many areas: politics, economics, commerce, investment, technology, industry, agriculture, manpower, health, education, information, youth and sports. They expressed satisfaction with steps taken to enhance their economic ties, and agreed to study means of improving bilateral trade in their national products. The two sides were chaired by their respective Foreign Ministers, the Saudi side by Prince Saud Al-Faisal, and the Syrian by Farooq Al-Shara.
In the agricultural field, the two sides praised the memorandum of understanding signed by the Saudi and Syrian Ministers of Agriculture on March 15, 1996. They also praised the executive program to enhance bilateral cooperation in the field of youth and sports over the period from 1996 to 1998.
Expressing satisfaction with the outcome of the recent Arab summit in Cairo, they praised the positions adopted by the Arab leaders in the interests of Arab solidarity and the restoration of Arab rights, and stressed their firm stance concerning the requirements of peace and the necessity for commitment to the base on which it was established in Madrid, including UN Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, and 425, as well as the land-for-peace principle. They also affirmed the necessity of a full and unconditional Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the June 4, 1967 borders, as well as from Lebanon and all occupied Palestinian lands including Jerusalem. The Saudi side, voicing appreciation of Syria's commitment to the principles of peace despite Israeli obstacles aimed at evading the peace process, stressed its firm support for Syria's just demands and its efforts to restore its occupied lands, in accordance with international law. The statement reiterated the Arab Summit's call for guarantees that Israel will not disrupt the basic elements of the peace process and will remain committed to its pledges and the agreements reached.
Referring to the situation in Iraq, the statement reaffirmed sympathy with the Iraqi people and welcomed the agreement between the UN and the Iraqi government allowing implementation of Resolution 986 on the humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people as a positive step towards alleviating their suffering, for which the Iraqi regime is solely responsible. The two sides emphasized their concern for the unity and sovereignty of Iraqi territory. They also reiterated their demand that Iraq comply with all relevant international resolutions for the release of Kuwaiti and other detainees.
The two sides renewed their solidarity with the State of Bahrain, voicing their vehement rejection of any interference in the internal affairs of the Emirate. The Saudi side expressed appreciation of Syrian efforts to halt the media barrages between Bahrain and Iran as a first step towards clearing the air between the two countries on the basis of understanding, good neighborly ties and concern for the security and stability of the region.
The statement repeated the two sides' strong condemnation of terrorism in certain Arab nations, as an alien factor in Arab society and contrary to Islamic values and Arab tradition. The Syrian side renewed its condemnation of the recent terrorist act against Saudi Arabia and affirmed its rejection of any attempt to undermine the security and stability of Saudi Arabia and its brotherly people.
In conclusion, the Syrian side expressed thanks for the hospitality accorded to them since their arrival in their second homeland, Saudi Arabia. The two sides agreed to hold the seventh session in Damascus during the first half of 1997, the exact date to be fixed.