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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 25, 1997


President's Meeting with Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia

President Clinton's meeting today with Prince Sultan -- Saudi Arabia's second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense and Aviation -- and his accompanying delegation is the latest chapter in a decades long relationship of mutual respect and support between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The President told Prince Sultan that we remain committed to ensuring security and stability in the critical Gulf region and will work with Saudi Arabia to respond to any external threats to our mutual interests. He stressed his determination to protect the security of American troops stationed in Saudi Arabia, and they discussed our cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

The President also told Prince Sultan we look forward to working with our Saudi Arabian friends to further the search for a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia pledged its active support for the peace process.

Following the Presidential meetings, Prince Sultan and the Vice President, joined by their respective ministers of foreign affairs, commerce, and energy, discussed a number of issues of bilateral interest, concentrating on environmental, energy, economic and trade matters.

U.S.-Saudi relations are strong and will remain so. Our countries have been friends in peace and allies in war. We have expanding trade and commercial ties that benefit both our economies. U.S. firms have traditionally played an important role in the Saudi Arabian economy and we are working to maintain and expand our participation in Saudi Arabia's development. We are supporting Saudi Arabia's accession to the World Trade Organization, and we look forward to the increasing trade opportunities which will flow from Saudi Arabia's membership in the WTO.

Prince Sultan will be meeting tomorrow with Secretary Cohen to discuss bilateral defense issues in more detail. Prince Sultan will meet with Secretary Albright on Thursday to explore the range of diplomatic initiative underway or under review including, among other issues, the Middle East Peace Process, Afghanistan, Bosnia and our mutual efforts to contain the threat posed by Saddam. Prince Saud will also meet with Secretary Albright on Thursday. Also this week, the Saudi Arabian Ministers of Commerce and Petroleum and Deputy Minister of Finance will conduct bilateral discussions with their U.S. counterparts.

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