Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, in an interview published today in the Arabic daily 'Al-Sharq Al-Awsat' affirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia maintains strong relations with the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of France in the areas of politics, economics, finance, commerce, industry and security. He explained the purpose of his recent visits by saying that several regional and international issues of common interest had necessitated an exchange of views with these three countries.
Prince Sultan referred to his visit to the USA as coinciding with the start of President Bill Clinton's second term of office and coming within the framework of the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, to conduct consultations and exchange views with the U.S. President, Vice President Al Gore, and senior officials of the Clinton administration to further the existing distinguished bilateral ties that date from the friendship between King Abdul Aziz and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt which was built on the basis of mutual respect and common interests. He added: "We felt that there was a need to explore the direction the new U.S. administration is taking on the hot issues of our region on the one hand, and on the other, to reiterate the firm stance of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on those issues pertaining to the Arab and Islamic nations."
Prince Sultan stated that the purpose of his visits to the U.K. and to France, both in response to invitations, was to further bilateral relations in all fields in order to serve the interests of the French and British peoples as well as those of the Kingdom. He went on to say: "What we felt in all three countries is the existence of a full understanding of the special status of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and sincere tributes to the King, the government and the people of our country for its distinguished role in the regional and international arenas."