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Saudi to Modernize Military | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat- Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, the deputy prime minister, minister of defense and aviation, and inspector general, has asserted that Saudi Arabia has not decided yet the source from which it will buy its modern fighter aircraft. This is the deal that is scheduled to be concluded soon to modernize the Saudi Air Force fleet.

Answering an &#34Asharq al-Awsat&#34 question after opening the Sultan Bin-Abdulaziz Sciences and Technology Center in Al-Khobar, he said, &#34The source for providing the Air Force with the aircraft has not been decided yet. But the decision has already been made to raise the levels of the Armed Forces, whether they are the Public Security forces that shoulder the task of the citizen”s security, the National Guards forces that deserve to be developed, or the Defense Ministry”s forces as represented by their four branches. Work is underway and this, in my view, needs for its details not to be clarified at present. But rest assured that we will announce it when we do reach something.&#34

Regarding his anticipated visit to Cairo and reports about an Arab plan led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt to resolve some of the Arab problems, among them the Syrian one with the international commission investigating the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, Prince Sultan said: &#34I read in some non-Saudi newspapers, and which the Saudi newspapers cited, that my visit has a consultative aim with some countries, among them Egypt. This is not true. My visit is in response to a previous invitation from my brother Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and is a cordial one to discuss specifically the military cooperation between the two countries, including the holding of joint naval and air exercises. Such exercises were held (in the past) but which I did not have the chance to see. I will therefore visit Egypt soon to meet the Egyptian president and my military colleagues there and underline the Saudi-Egyptian cooperation and friendship only.

On the other hand, Prince Sultan said that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is under the leadership of King Abdullah Bin-Abdulaziz, the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, who has pledged himself to deepen four principles, which are, Serving religion then serving the homeland and the citizen, patience in doing so, and action to achieve it. We received these principles positively and every official in any position has to act according to these four principles. This is information that I want to clarify very frankly and clearly. He added: The second thing is that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, people and leadership, is the state of Islam, Arabism, work, and brotherhood and there is not in its views or approaches any harm or any act harmful to any individual, nation, or state whether it is Muslim, Arab, or friendly. We therefore praise God that there is not a single person in this whole world who has done this state or its citizens any favor, either in education, economics, or any aspects of life. This is a gift from God that we should protect.

He stressed that &#34what we wish from our free and proud press is not to look in the least at these absurdities that are directed against the kingdom. Our press has to criticize constructively and support the ruler in everything that is in the interest of religion and life and also support the Saudi people. The latter needs to respond to our free press, its correct views, and accept the constructive criticism in all minor and major affairs and to seek the truths.&#34

In his reply to a question about the existence of unemployment, Prince Sultan said, Unemployment exists in all over the world and Saudi Arabia is not the only one that has unemployment. But the leadership under the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques is determined to eliminate this problem.

He announced the offering of the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Sciences and Technology Center as a gift to the King Fahd Petroleum and Minerals University in Dhahran.