Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, today attended a luncheon held in his honor by Italian President Carlo Champi, to whom he conveyed greetings from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, and with whom he exchanged views on a number of issues of concern to Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Italy. He described Saudi-Italian relations as deep-rooted, recalling that Italy historically took the initiative to make contact with King Abdul Aziz even before the founder of the modern Kingdom had completed the unification process. Remarking that the visit to Italy of King Faisal Bin Abdul Aziz had further boosted bilateral relations, the Crown Prince went on to say that his current visit would enhance ties between the two countries in all aspects, political, economical, cultural and commercial.
Crown Prince Abdullah pointed out that the Arab-Israeli dispute constitutes a common interest for the two countries, including the issues of Palestine and Al-Quds [Jerusalem], and remarked that the option for peace accepted by all Arab states at the Cairo Summit in 1996 obligates Israel to live up to the requirements of the peace process. The Crown Prince told his Italian host that Saudi Arabia depends on the Italian government to work for reactivation of the Middle East peace process, and expressed appreciation of the latest indication of the European Union's support for the Palestinians' rights to establish an independent state on Palestinian territory.
Turning to Iraq, Crown Prince Abdullah expressed sadness and pain at the sufferings of the Iraqi people and underlined the Kingdom's concern for the unity, sovereignty, and integrity of Iraq. He reiterated that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is to blame for the misery of his people, and that Iraq should comply with the United Nations resolutions.
As for Kosovo, Crown Prince Abdullah said the Kingdom shares Italy's concern at the deteriorating situation in the Balkans. He expressed Saudi Arabia's support for the international efforts seeking to put an end to the miseries created by the Serb leadership.