At a press conference yesterday following the 23rd meeting of the international prize committee for service to Islam of the King Faisal Foundation, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz announced the award of the prize to the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, in recognition of its services to the Islamic World. The Al-Azhar University, founded over one thousand years ago, is an institution that has produced thousands of eminent scholars and distinguished educationalists, preserving Arab and Islamic heritages and strengthening the Arab and Islamic identity. Together with its branches in Egypt and throughout the world, Al-Azhar University also spreads the faith of Islam and the Arabic language.
In response to a question on the Sudan, Prince Sultan stated that the Kingdom's only concern is the stability and development of that country and its people, saying: "We have no right to intervene in arrangements adopted by a head of state inside his country."
On the Syrian track of the Middle East peace process, Prince Sultan expressed hope that Syria would have all its rights restored, and that all other Arab lands in Lebanon and Palestine would be given back, saying: "We hope that the honorable stand of President Bill Clinton in serving the purpose of peace will continue in bringing about an end to the occupation of Arab lands."
Replying to another question on the performance of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), Prince Sultan stated: "It has rendered wonderful services to the country and its members are amongst the most qualified of our people. There is no doubt about their honesty, piety and good conduct. Although perfection is for God Almighty alone, they have performed their duties in the best way possible."
Referring to the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, Prince Sultan declared that Al-Azhar University well deserved this year's prize, as a religious and scientific institution with prominent Islamic role worldwide.