1999 Public Statement

Saudi-French joint statement on Prince Sultan's visit
The following communiqué was issued today at the end of a four-day official visit to France by Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector-General Prince Sultan bin Abdulziz.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic Of France expressed their satisfaction over developing bilateral relations in the areas of politics, economics, culture and defense, saying: "the two sides have reviewed the means of enhancing this fruitful cooperation within the framework of the strategic partnership between the two countries."

The statement said that during the visit, Prince Sultan was received by President Jacques Chirac. He held talks with President Chirac, and with Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine and Defense Minister Alain Richard, which were fruitful and friendly and dealt with bilateral relations and a number of regional and international issues. These talks included comprehensive discussion on the various tracks of the Middle East peace process. The two sides agreed on the importance of encouraging all parties to work for realization of a comprehensive, just and permanent peace based on UN Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 425, with the Madrid conference as a reference, including the principle of land for peace. The two sides also called for intensification of efforts to carry out the commitments stated in the signed agreements, and for accelerated progress towards steps for negotiations on the final status for Palestinian lands, emphasizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people including that of an independent state. The communiqué said the two sides stressed the importance of not carrying out any unilateral act that would harm the final status negotiations, especially those on Al-Quds Al-Shareef [Jerusalem]; and called for immediate resumption of negotiations between Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon in a way acceptable to all parties.
The two countries also stressed their concern for the unity and independence of Iraq, and the safety of its territory; and for the humanitarian situation of the Iraqi people, expressing sympathy for them, and stressing the importance of implementing of the oil-for-food program in accordance with the UN resolutions issued in this respect, which the two sides urged Iraq to implement in full.
The two sides stressed the importance of making the Middle East free from weapons of mass destruction. The French side, expressing concern for the stability and security of the gulf region, committed to contributing to the accomplishment of this goal.
The communiqué said that both sides reject terrorism, expressing a desire to combat it in all its forms and origins, and emphasizing the importance of international cooperation in this context to put an end to terrorist activities, and to pursue and bring to justice those who are accused.
The two sides expressed concern over the situation in the republic of Chechnya and the fate of the civilian residents there, calling for a political solution through dialogue and negotiations.
The communiqué said the French president had expressed interest in recent measures announced by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aimed at facilitating foreign investment. For his part, Prince Sultan stressed that Saudi Arabia welcomes the participation of the French private sector in all promising investment fields in the Kingdom. In this context, the two sides emphasized their desire to expand the existing economic partnership between the private sectors in the two countries by easing the flow of bilateral trade and facilitating entry of their products in each other's markets. In order to realize this, the two countries stressed their desire to sign an agreement to encourage and protect mutual investments.
The French side showed its appreciation for the progress realized by the Saudi side in the process of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). In this context, the French president expressed his country's support for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join WTO as soon as possible. The French side also praised the positive role being played by Saudi Arabia in the security and stability of the oil supply in global markets. The French and Saudi sides both highlighted the importance of intensifying negotiations between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union (EU), so that the GCC and EU reach an agreement on free trade.