Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who is on a four-day state visit to the Russian Federation, was received in Moscow yesterday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom he held extensive talks. Under discussion were current international events, led by developments in the Palestinian issue and the right of the Palestinian people to have an independent state on their national territory with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital, in accordance with Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative that was adopted by the 2002 Arab Summit in Beirut and became a reference for the roadmap. Also under discussion was the situation in Iraq and the right of the Iraqi people to enjoy security and stability under a legitimate government.
In the area of bilateral cooperation, a number of agreements were signed in the presence of the two leaders. Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi signed, with Russia's Minister of Energy Igor Yusufov, an agreement on cooperation in the field of oil and gas. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the chambers of commerce and industry of the two countries; as were cooperation agreements in youth and sports, and in science and technology. Today, an agreement on media cooperation was signed between the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and Itar-Tass, the official Russian news agency.
In a speech on the occasion, Crown Prince Abdullah expressed the Kingdom's pleasure at resuming the strong cooperation between the two countries through the package of bilateral agreements. Moreover, both countries, he said, hold identical views on the issue of Palestine, calling for a lasting and fair peace in the Middle East. He referred to the fact that the Arab world had made overtures of peace, expressing readiness to establish normal relations with Israel after its withdrawal from all occupied Arab territories and its recognition of the right of the Palestinians to set up their independent state with Al-Quds [East Jerusalem] as its capital, and of the right of return for those in compulsory exile. The roadmap, he said, constitutes a start that should be developed towards fair and comprehensive peace in the region. Crown Prince Abdullah went on to praise the pivotal role Russia is playing in international relations in its capacity as a pillar of the UN Security Council, pledging the Kingdom's support in bringing about peace, prosperity and security to the international community.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal, following a meeting today with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, described the Saudi-Russian talks as important and open, and announced that a joint task force has been formed to effect arrangements to counter international terrorism. He affirmed that the proposal to send international peace forces into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "remains the sole option to resolve the current dilemma". On the Iraqi issue, Prince Saud called for formulation of a unified collective stand to maintain the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iraq, and expressed the hope that the transitional Governing Council will succeed in forming an Iraqi government that include all factions of Iraqi people on the basis of completely equal rights and duties which Prince Saud described as overcoming religious and ethnic loyalties.