U.S. Vice-President Al Gore and his accompanying delegation left Jeddah today after a two-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He was seen off at King Abdul Aziz International Airport by Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, and Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General. Also present were a large number of princes, ministers, senior civil and military officials, and members of the staff of the U.S. Embassy.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz yesterday at the Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah received Vice-President Gore, who conveyed to him greetings from U.S. President Bill Clinton. During his visit, Vice-President Gore met twice with Crown Prince Abdullah, to review bilateral relations between the two countries and the most important events in the international arena and in the Middle East.
Today the following joint statement was issued:
"U.S. Vice-President Al Gore visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the invitation of Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz on May 1 and 2, 1998. The visit is in the framework of the close, strong and historic relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and the desire of both governments to have periodic high level consultations to assure coordination of policies that affect mutual interests.
Vice President Gore was received by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, at a meeting attended by Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector- General, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Foreign Minister, Prince Saud Ibn Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Vice-President of General Intelligence, Prince Abdul Aziz Ibn Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Advisor at the Royal Court, Dr Abdul Aziz Al-Khoweiter, Minister of State and Escorting Minister to the visiting delegation, Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Saudi Ambassador to the United States, and U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom Wyche Fowler.
The two sides discussed topics of mutual interest and concern. Both sides pledged to cooperate fully in the search for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East based on security council resolutions 242 and 338 and the concept of land for peace. Further, they agreed that the best way to achieve the peace so greatly desired is by full implementation of each side's obligations made at the Oslo and Washington accords. Vice-President Gore updated the Saudi side on America's vigorous efforts to put the peace process back on track, including details of the planned meetings in London between U.S. Secretary of State Albright and the Palestinian and Israeli leaders. Saudi Arabia expressed its full support for the peace efforts exerted by the United States and its willingness to support whatever the Palestinian side agrees to in the service of peace, and expects the two sides to strictly abide by their obligations. Saudi Arabia also expressed concern over the policies of the government of Israel and called on Israel to fully implement the Oslo and Washington accords and to cooperate with the initiative of the United States to revitalize the peace process. At the same time, the two sides underscored the importance of resuming negotiations on the Syrian and Lebanese tracks as soon as possible, to allow the whole peace process to go back to its natural course. Both countries expressed their support for the implementation of resolutions 425 and 426.
Discussing the situation in the Gulf, the Vice-President reaffirmed the commitment of the United States to the security and stability of this vital area in light of the external threats it faces. The United States and Saudi Arabia call upon Iraq to fully implement security council resolutions including providing full disclosure of its programs for weapons of mass destruction. They agreed that the Iraqi regime is solely responsible for the continuation of sanctions. Both sides expressed the hope that Iraq would quickly comply with all the UN resolutions so that the suffering of the Iraqi people can be alleviated. In the meantime, both sides welcome the implementation of resolution 1153 which seeks to relieve this suffering.
The two sides noted with interest the recent developments in Iranian policy, and looked forward to seeing the emergence of a moderate tone translated into actual policies that would be conducive to the improvement of Iran's relations with its neighbors and the international community at large.
Turning to the situation in Afghanistan, they expressed support for the efforts of the United Nations and OIC that aim at a peaceful resolution and an end to the fighting. Both sides discussed the common threat that terrorism poses to the international community.
Reviewing the current state of the international economy, they agreed that both sides should continue close consultation with each other. They discussed the importance of Saudi Arabia remaining a secure and reliable supplier of energy resources to the entire world, especially the United States. The Vice-President expressed support for Saudi Arabia's desire to join the World Trade Organization. The two sides also discussed the recent conference in Kyoto on global warming, and resolved to consult and cooperate fully on the issues related to this problem.
Vice-President Gore extended an invitation to the Crown Prince to visit the United States. The Crown Prince accepted the invitation, and it is hoped that the two sides can agree upon a mutually acceptable date some time before the end of this calendar year.
The Vice-President and Mrs. Gore expressed their appreciation for the generous hospitality extended by their Saudi Arabian hosts and particularly for the opportunity for the Vice-President to meet with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, to whom he conveyed greetings from President Clinton and the American people, thanking him for his support and friendship through the years and wishing him good health and long life.