Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and his accompanying delegation, currently on a state visit to the Republic of South Africa, attended in Pretoria yesterday evening a dinner reception hosted by South African Vice-President Thabo Mbeki. During the event, Crown Prince Abdullah bestowed upon Vice-President Mbeki the King Abdul Aziz Medal (First Class). He then took the opportunity of awarding the King Abdul Aziz Medal (Second Class) to Political Affairs Adviser at the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC, Rihab Masoud, in recognition of his efforts, alongside Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, in the settlement of the Lockerbie issue. Vice-President Mbeki, in an impromptu speech, highlighted the friendly relations that exist between the Saudi Arabia and South Africa, and expressed appreciation for the Kingdom's role in the Lockerbie affair. In reply, Crown Prince Abdullah underscored the importance of enhancing relations among all nations, and said: "I wish all progress and every success for the people of South Africa."
Meanwhile, yesterday Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Industry and Electricity Dr. Hashem Abdullah Yamani and Minister of Finance and National Economy Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf held talks with their South African counterparts
At a reception for the Islamic community in Pretoria yesterday, Crown Prince Abdullah spoke of incidents carried out in the name of Islam that were alien to the Islamic cause, remarking that Islam never accepts killing and attacking others, but on the contrary, calls for love, close relations, and dedication among Muslims. In response to a question on the assistance Saudi Arabia has been providing to the Kosovars, the Crown Prince reported that the government of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, ever since the crisis erupted, has been operating an airlift to bring material assistance to the refugees. It has also set up a temporary hospital and put two helicopters at the disposal of Saudi personnel in the Balkans for the distribution of foodstuffs, blankets, dates, medicine and tents. In addition, Saudi citizens have been raising money for Kosovo.
Following the meeting, a member of the Islamic community expressed thanks to Crown Prince Abdullah for his donations to the various societies and organizations in South Africa. In addition, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal announced his donation of U.S. $ 4 million to support the Islamic community in South Africa.
At a meeting in Pretoria yesterday with the Arab ambassadors accredited to South Africa, Crown Prince Abdullah declared that the Arab world lacks frankness, and urged that all bitterness be replaced by full cooperation for the benefit of the Arab and Islamic worlds.