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Prince Sultan statements

Riyadh, 23rd October 2001, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Second Deputy Premier, Defence and Aviation Minister and Inspector General, has underscored the importance of settling the problems of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque and said they constitute the major cause of tension in the region. In press statements to the Kuwait-based Al-Siyasa Newspaper on Monday, Prince Sultan pointed out that the terror attacks witnessed by New York and Washington on September 11th 2001 would have serious repercussions because they were launched against a major power. ‘The terrorists, utilizing modern technology, were capable of penetrating US security systems to carry out their suicidal operations', said Prince Sultan, and added: 'The big question remains: who was behind this terrorism, and who carried out these complicated terror operations?'

Prince Sultan said Osama bin Laden and his followers had indicated that they might have been involved in these terror acts: 'Were bin Laden and his followers the only group involved in these acts, or did another force with highly technical expertise participate with bin Laden and his followers in carrying out the terror acts?', he asked. Prince Sultan added: 'This leads us to another question: what is that force aiming for?'.

On the question of Muslim relations with America, Prince Sultan said that Arabs do believe that the Palestinian problem constitutes the major cause of tension in the Middle East region.

'Moreover, the issue of al-Aqsa Mosque is a matter of concern to all Muslims in the world', said Prince Sultan, and added 'Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the Deputy Premier and Commander of the National Guard, has made this fact clear in his message to the US President. So it is an inevitable matter to work for the solution of the Palestinian problem', he added.

Prince Sultan severely criticized those who tried to take advantage of the Palestinian issue and utilize it for their own aims. He said 'Saddam Hussein of Iraq, when his occupation of Kuwait was condemned internationally, alleged that by occupying Kuwait he was aiming for the liberation of Palestine. It is high time that concerned parties worked towards the implementation of the contents of Mitchell Report, because that may pave the way to ending the existing tension in the region', he noted.

Prince Sultan pointed out that terrorism would be easily contained when the issue of al-Quds was settled. He underscored the importance of further enhancing cooperation among the GCC member states and noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to present military proposals for the improvement and development of the Al-Jazeerah shield. 'We are looking for the establishment of a unified force under one leadership that is capable of protecting any GCC member state when it faces danger', he added.

'We are keen to serve Arab and Muslim causes’ said Prince Sultan, and added 'those who attack us do so because they are fully aware of our determination to serve the causes of Palestine and Al-Quds'. As regards the impact of events in New York and Washington on the internal situation in the Kingdom, Prince Sultan said 'there is nothing to be worried about in this respect' and added 'the blast incident at Al-Khobar, which was reported earlier by the Saudi authorities, would remain an isolated incident, and it should never be linked with international events'.

Prince Sultan said that Saudis would turn a deaf ear to spiteful criticism by the American press against the Kingdom, and added: 'but we are concerned by articles published in some Arab newspapers and broadcast by some satellite channels which makes it appear that these newspapers and satellite channels are supporting these biased campaigns against the Kingdom by the American press, despite the fact that they are aware of the quarters that stand behind the campaigns. Anyway, our newspapers are capable of refuting allegations and biased reports against the Kingdom in a manner that protects Saudi public opinion’. As regards the economic situation, Prince Sultan said: 'Thanks to Almighty Allah, we enjoy a good economic condition, and our economic situation is much better than the situation in some other countries’.

Prince Sultan noted that the Kingdom had assisted Iraq when it was involved in a war against Iran, 'but after the end of the war, we were faced by a strong Iraqi military arsenal. We were fully aware that if Iraq had succeeded in realizing its goals during the second Gulf war, the situation would have been changed in a manner that might endanger not only Kuwait but also the Kingdom,’ he explained. Prince Sultan reiterated that the Saudi economy has been steadily growing and developing.

He lauded the remarkable role being played by the Saudi private sector and its positive contribution to the national economy. 'We do feel proud because our industrial products are now marketed in Arab and non-Arab markets’, he said, and reiterated the considerable attention being given by Saudi officials to the security sector as well as to human and urban development.

Prince Sultan urged the Saudis to benefit from investment opportunities in their country. He highlighted the stable conditions in the Kingdom and said 'the Kingdom has an honorable history of security and stability'.

Source: SPA©



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