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U.S Energy Secretary comments on Energy Forum
Riyadh, 19 November 2000
US Minister of Energy Bill Richardson said the atmosphere in which deliberations of the Seventh International Energy Forum was being held was characterized by frankness and objective presentation of the problems that face the oil producers and consumers. In a statement to SPA, Richardson said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deserves all the credit for the organization of the forum which is convened at a time oil prices have hiked and the problems for consumers have increased”. He added: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is capable of gathering so many countries for discussion and dialogue, because direct discussion among the concerned parties is an ideal manner for the solution of current energy problems.”

Richardson described the proposal of Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz for the establishment of a Secretariat General for the International Energy Forum as a constructive proposal and a new idea. He said the USA will be ready to contribute to studying the proposal: “In principle, the USA views the idea as a good idea that deserves to be studied,” he added.

On the Saudi-American industrial cooperation, Richardson said: “The initiative of Crown Prince Abdullah in encouraging foreign investment in the field of gas and chemicals is a positive step in enhancing cooperation between the two countries. Relations between the two countries are growing steadily in the fields of science, technology and energy,” He noted that bilateral cooperation in these fields includes exchange of Saudi and American scientists at the national laboratories in the two countries. On the Saudi-American cooperation within the next four years, Richardson said: “The Saudi-American relations will remain strong and will further be enhanced in the future, and added: “The two countries are cooperating in so many spheres including trade, energy and exchange of visits by the business sectors.” Richardson reaffirmed that the US Energy Department will support the Saudi-American business Council in the field of research and studies.

Source: SPA

Prince Sultan discusses Saudi-U.S. ties with U.S. Defense Secretary
Riyadh, 20 November 2000
Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Second Deputy Premier, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General has exchanged views with the visiting U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen on aspects of cooperation between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. - notably follow up of Saudi-American cooperation and transfer of modern technology that can benefit the Kingdom within the framework of the joint cooperation between the two countries.

In reply to a question on the three aircraft crash incidents - one helicopter in Qassim region, one tornado plane in the southern region and one helicopter in Hafr al-Baten, Prince Sultan said: “Plane crashes happen everywhere, the result of technical faults, mid-air collisions, problems on the runway or during training or rescue missions. Thanks be to Almighty God, these incidents have been very rare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” He said that the tornado was on night manoeuvres when it crashed while landing by clipping a mountain near the runway. It then caught fire. Referring to the helicopter that crashed in Qassim, Prince Sultan said its crew was performing the national duty of rescue mission from a flood. He explained that the weather was very bad and the crash resulted in the death of seven personnel. As for the third plane, Prince Sultan said it was three meters between the runway and the edge, and then it collided with the asphalt edge, adding that its crew was safe except for one pilot who had a minor leg injury.

On Iraq, Prince Sultan said: “The GCC states have not changed their views on Iraq, either at the summit or at ministerial level”. He stressed that, in order to lift embargo, Iraq should comply with the resolutions of the Security Council and agree to international inspections to satisfy other countries that it has no improper weapons. With respect to a Russian suggestion for setting up a military and security body comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, Iran and Iraq, the Second Deputy Premier said: “This proposal has never been put to us officially. Russia is a powerful country and has the right to say anything (it the second sponsor of the Middle East peace process), but I think this is not a practical suggestion. Iraq must abide by the resolutions of the Security Council of which Russia is a member and support these resolutions. If Iraq had abided by these resolutions, then the problem could have been resolved. We do not need anyone to educate us on how to deal with our brother,” he noted.

When asked, in the light of increasing oil prices, whether the state is thinking of paying off its local debts and re-programming the fees that have been imposed on some sectors, Prince Sultan said: “First, the state has given the farmers a lots of money, as part of the national services and economic development for all citizens. Second, the state is continuing to pay off its debts. The debt program will be completed in the upcoming two years. Third, there is a re-program for projects that have been halted in the past and we hope that in the upcoming budget and the one after it, we will continue building new projects for the country.”

Source: SPA


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 June 28, 2001 15:36:27