Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General, announced today that he will visit the United States of America in the near future, and that he has been delegated to do so by the Saudi leadership.
Commenting on his upcoming visit, Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom desires to hold talks with the new U.S. administration following the recent election. Prince Sultan stated: “We have decided that I should go there ..... to discuss the new U.S. administration’s strategy towards peace in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf. The talks will also focus on bilateral relationships between the two countries, and whether there is any change in this context. We shall brief the administration on the Kingdom’s unchangeable stand in all circumstances.”
Referring to certain reports on the signing of a deal for planes as distortions of the facts, Prince Sultan denied them, and declared that no deal would come up for discussion. He said: “We have concluded many deals in the past for air, land, air defense and naval forces costing thousands of millions of dollars, and all of them had to be studied, discussed and passed through the leadership, the cabinet, the consultative council, and the correct legal procedures in the Kingdom because we believe in the country’s system and its Islamic constitution.”
Earlier, Prince Sultan had commented on the fact that although the F-5 planes have been in service for twenty-one years, they are fully operational at all bases thanks to the maintenance and attention accorded to them. He added that advanced assistance planes for the land forces are being sought, and that a number of offers have been received and have been quietly under study for the past two years, with Saudi Air Force experts endorsing F-16 planes as possible good alternatives for the F-5s.