At the reception yesterday following the fourth general assembly in Washington DC of the
Saudi-U.S. Business Council, Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar Bin Sultan
Bin Abdul Aziz praised the close economic relations between the two countries. He stated
that the recent establishment of the Supreme Economic Council in the Kingdom, under the
chairmanship of Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander
of the National Guard, was evidence of the Kingdom's sincerity and credibility in dealing
with the global economy and the challenges of the 21st century.
Prince Bandar went on to underscore the importance of the encouraging signals towards
forging peace in the Middle East, and the need to settle thorny issues in Arab-American
relations including the return of Libya to the world community after surrendering the
suspects in the Lockerbie case. He expressed pride in the Kingdom's participation in the
International Millennium Festival being held in Orlando by the Disney Corporation, saying
that the event provides an opportunity to present the Arab view and Arab positions
regarding the issue of Al-Quds [Jerusalem], and to refute the false Israeli claims to its
sovereignty. He referred to the city's holy status in the three religions and the absolute
need for peace and stability in the region.
In his speech, Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf praised the
recent formation of the Higher Economic Council. Highlighting the important role of the
private sector in enhancing Saudi Arabia's economic growth, he reviewed the initiatives
taken by the Saudi government to privatize important sectors of the economy, and to support
the Kingdom's application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). He pointed out the
availability of investment opportunities in the Kingdom as well as the stability of its
markets and the expansion of its economic activities in the Gulf and the Middle East.
[full text of Prince Bandar's speech]