1998 News Story

French defense minister visits Saudi Arabia

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdulaziz al Saud received a message today from the President of the Republic of France Jacques Chirac.  The message was conveyed to the King by the French Minister of Defence Alain Richard during his meeting with King Fahd at al-Salam Royal Palace in Jeddah.

Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second  Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General, in a subsequent meeting today, welcomed the French Defence Minister and his accompanying delegation and confirmed the “firmness” of Saudi French relations.  Prince Sultan recalled the first meeting between the late King Faisal and former French President Charles de Gaulle in 1967 which laid the foundation for a strong friendship between the two governments and peoples.  Prince Sultan said that Saudi-French relations cover a wide-range of economic, cultural and social fields, and he noted that a Saudi French Joint Committee meets on a biannual basis.  For his part, French Defence Minister Richard expressed appreciation to Prince Sultan and described the relations between the two countries as deep-rooted.  Defence Minister Richard praised the personal role played by Prince Sultan over the past period to further enhance these relations, confirming  that “France was appreciating that important role.”    
Following the meeting at which bilateral relations and ways of fostering cooperation were discussed, Prince Sultan told reporters that the meeting was a manifestation of the military cooperation between the Kingdom and France which began in 1967 and still continues.   He pointed out that the Saudi French Joint Committee was designed to evaluate that cooperation.   He confirmed that there “were no obstacles or difficulties facing this cooperation.”   In this regard, he said that “both parties were aware of their duties and responsibilities and each other's strategy, so, there is no obstacle or difficulty.”     
In response to a question on signing weapons deals between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of France, Prince Sultan said, “as you know, forging a deal doesn't happen in one or two sessions but it was continuing in the benefit of the two countries and  the two military forces of the two countries, and we have great hope to cooperate in this field in the near future.”