Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz received in Riyadh today France's foreign minister Hubert Vedrine, who delivered to him a message from French President Jacques Chirac. Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz also received the visiting French foreign minister, who later held extensive talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
Prior to his departure today, Minister Vedrine expressed the hope that the ongoing military operations in Afghanistan would soon lead to the eradication of the terrorist network. For his part, Prince Saud Al-Faisal, affirming that their discussion had covered international cooperation against terrorism, stressed that the position of the two countries is identical, and both urge tracking down and bringing to justice as soon as possible those responsible for the September 11 attacks. International cooperation, he said, should consider the eradication of infrastructure assisting terrorists, including financial. As for the situation in Afghanistan, he reported that both sides hope that innocent Afghans will not be harmed, adding that it is the Taleban leadership that is responsible for what is happening in that country.
The meeting, Prince Saud said, also dealt with the Middle East issue. Expressing his appreciation for France's historical role in this context as well as its fundamental role in the European Union, Prince Saud stated that there was agreement on the necessity for the Palestinians to feel a change in their condition, and that this would only happen with a halt to Israel's aggression against them.
In reply to a question on the Kingdom's role in assisting the international coalition against terror, Prince Saud said Saudi Arabia has been doing everything possible to support the coalition, and will continue to do so. On Saudi-U.S. relations, he said they are strong, since the grounds on which they have been built are solid.