Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation, and Inspector-General, was received yesterday in Tehran by President Mohammed Khatami of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to whom he conveyed greetings from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah, and the Saudi people. Welcoming Prince Sultan and expressing pleasure at his current visit, President Khatami went on to refer to the meetings Prince Sultan has held with senior Iranian officials as an important step in the development of relations between the two countries. Prince Sultan declared that these meetings had been positive and implied a common desire to develop and promote bilateral relations.
Following the public audience, Prince Sultan and President Khatami had a closed-door session. At a press conference afterwards, Prince Sultan responded to a question on the topics discussed by saying that there was only one: that we are all under the umbrella of Islam and in the service of the Islamic community. He referred to all his meetings over the past two days as cordial and fraternal, and reflected the future of Saudi-Iranian friendship.
Yesterday, Prince Sultan attended a luncheon in his honor hosted by Iranian foreign minister Kamal Kharazzi. He also met with commerce minister Hussen Shariah Madari, and defense minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, with whom he discussed a number of issues related to future trade between the two countries.
Later, speaking on the occasion of an evening reception for Arab ambassadors accredited to Iran, Prince Sultan reiterated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a peace-loving country that believes in the principle of coexistence and non-interference in the domestic affairs of others. Moreover, Prince Sultan said Saudi Arabia is concerned with non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the fight against terrorism, and preservation of human rights as advocated by Islam. He noted that the Kingdom supports absolutely ongoing international efforts aimed at putting an end to the ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Serbs in Kosovo. He emphasized the Kingdom's concern to realize a just peace in the Middle East as well as implementation of the UN resolutions for the settlement of the Palestinian problem in a way that addresses the problem of Jerusalem, the return of the Palestinian refugees to their homeland, and the withdrawal of Israel from southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights. Urging the ambassadors to coordinate their efforts in these various issues, he underlined the importance of closing Arab ranks in order to confront the challenges that face the Arab World.
Today, Prince Sultan met with Leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Ali Khamenei, to whom he conveyed greetings from King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah. They then reviewed issues pertaining to bilateral relations and Muslim causes. Prince Sultan also met with former Iranian President Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani, who expressed the hope that the future of Saudi-Iranian relations would be bright and promising. For his part, Prince Sultan underlined the importance of developing bilateral relations and referred to Rafsanjani's recent visit to Saudi Arabia as having yielded positive results. At another meeting, attended by defense minister Ali Shamkhani, Prince Sultan reviewed a number of Islamic issues with Speaker of the Iranian Consultative Council Ali Akbar Natik Nouri.