Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz arrived in Casablanca today on a private visit to the Kingdom of Morocco. This follows a three-day State visit to France, at the end of which a joint Saudi-French communiqué was issued. On leaving Paris, the Crown Prince was escorted to the airport by President of France Jacques Chirac.
Before leaving Paris, Crown Prince Abdullah received at his guest residence the Arab diplomatic corps accredited to France, and told them that his visit to France, which he called a friend of the Arab world, was highly successful and that with President Chirac he had discussed important issues.
Noting that Syrian troops are completing their withdrawal from Lebanon, the Crown Prince expressed the hope that the language of reason would now prevail once again. What is important, he said, is Arab unity, and all differences should be solved for its sake. Commenting on the Palestinian situation, he stated that crimes such as killing innocent people and demolishing their homes cannot be forgotten. He urged adherence to Islam as the way to resolve the crisis, and declared that Muslims and Christians are brothers in the Arab world. On Iraq, he wished the Iraqi people every success, and welcomed any step towards cooling down tensions and stopping the shedding of blood. Commenting on certain calls for reform in the Middle East, he said this idea does not attract our interest, since real reforms emanate from within and cannot be imposed. All the Arab states, he noted, are following the path of reform, but not because of pressure from outside. He expressed the belief that U.S. President George W. Bush now has a better understanding of the Arab world.
While in Paris, Crown Prince Abdullah also received Mokhtar Talib, General Director of the Paris-based Arab World Institution, and praised the role the Institution is playing in promoting Arab culture in the west in general and in France in particular. He also received at his guest residence in Paris today Koshero Matsura, General Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which is based in Paris, and affirmed the Kingdom’s concern to continue its cooperation with UNESCO.