Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a press conference today, and gave assurances that the policies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, both domestic and foreign, will carry the same values and principles formulated by the Kingdom’s founder King Abdulaziz and followed by his sons. The death of King Fahd bin Abdulaziz, he said, constitutes a great loss: but the smooth transfer of power to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz reflects the strength of the Kingdom's institutions. Saudi Arabia will remain open to the world while adhering to its deep-rooted traditions and values, and remain supportive of global peace and stability, honoring its bilateral and international commitments as well as respecting the principles, laws and resolutions of the United Nations, and preserving its close relations with friendly countries within the framework of the principles of mutual respect and non-interference in the domestic affairs of others.
Prince Saud then announced that Prince Muhammad bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, currently Ambassador to Italy, is the nominee for the post of Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Asked if the post of Second Deputy Prime Minister will be filled, Prince Saud said while such a post does not exist in the Basic Law of Governance, the King has the option of making such an appointment.
Prince Saud went on to remark that King Fahd was a great leader during whose reign Saudi Arabia made positive contributions to the global as well as the regional economy, achieving a balance in oil supplies that serves both oil consumers and oil producers. On economic issues, Prince Saud reiterated the Kingdom’s concern for the return of national capital from overseas, and for the attraction of foreign investors.
On King Abdullah’s initiative for the establishment of an international center for counter-terrorism, Prince Saud said this is being discussed at the level of the United Nations, and if approved by the General Assembly, will be incorporated in an upcoming UN report on terrorism. On efforts to overcome misconceptions about Saudi Arabia, he said he can see no better policy than the current one of receiving representatives of the mass media to learn what is happening in the Kingdom.
With regard to the Extraordinary Arab Summit, Prince Saud expressed appreciation that it had been postponed due to King Fahd’s death, and confirmed that King Abdullah will attend the re-scheduled meeting if at all possible.
Confirming that an invitation for King Abdullah to visit the United States was extended by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney during his recent visit to the Kingdom, Prince Saud said no date had yet been set. With regard to relations with the United States, he said that at government level, they are at their best. As for the U.S. public opinion, efforts are being made to restore the trust that existed before. Terrorism, he pointed out, affected the Kingdom before the United States, and the U.S. people will come to realize that Saudi Arabia had started to fight terrorism prior to any attack on the West. The facts of the Kingdom's war on terrorism will convince realistic observers that the Kingdom is against terrorism. Commenting on reports that Saudi Arabia had passed information to the British authorities on the London bombings, he said that there is ongoing cooperation between the two countries. This, he said, is a reflection of international efforts to fight terrorism.
Prince Saud declared that Saudi Arabia desires the strongest possible relations with Iraq, as a neighboring country and a member of the Arab League. Relations are excellent, and hopefully will continue so.