|September 26, 2003|
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz has sent a cable of congratulations to President Professor Guido De Marco of Malta on the anniversary of his country's national day. On his own behalf and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed to the president his wishes for continuous health and happiness and the people of Malta steady progress and prosperity. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also lauded existing relations binding the two countries and their friendly peoples.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz has ordered to buy twenty one thousand tones of dates produced by farmers to the amount of SR 75 million Minister of Agriculture and Head of the Board of Directors of Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization Dr. Fahd Ibn Abdul-Rahman Bal-Ghunaim said. He added that the dates would be distributed to the needy in the Kingdom and another part of it would be directed to the support of the United Nations Food program. On his behalf and all farmers, the Minister expressed thanks and appreciation to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince and the Second Deputy Prime Minister for their continuous support and their care and attention they have extended to the farmers.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz has sent a cable of congratulations to Mali's President Amadou Toumani Toure on the occasion of his country's national day. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques expressed his best wishes to the President and people of Mali, and highlighted the existing strong relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Mali.
Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, received a message addressed to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz from Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The message was delivered to Crown Prince Abdullah by visiting Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar during an audience at the Royal Court at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah.The Malaysian Minister conveyed to Crown Prince Abdullah the greetings of Malaysia's King Syed Sirajuddin and Premier Mahathir Mohamad to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince; while Crown Prince Abdullah sent his greetings to the Malaysian leadership.The audience was attended by Prince Dr. Bandar Ibn Salman Ibn Mohammed Al Saud, Advisor at the Crown Prince's Court.
Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, received a message addressed to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz from Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. The message was delivered to Crown Prince Abdullah during an audience with Pakistan's Ambassador to the Kingdom Abdul Aziz Mirza at the Royal Court at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. The Pakistani Ambassador conveyed to Crown Prince Abdullah the greetings of Pakistan's president to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince; while Crown Prince Abdullah sent his greetings to the president. The audience was attended by Prince Dr. Bandar Ibn Salman Ibn Mohammed Al Saud, Advisor at the Crown Prince's Court.
Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, has issued his approval to cover the cost of separating the two Egyptian female twins at his expense at King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh, an affiliate to the National Guard.Executive Director General for Health Affairs at the National Guard and head of the medical team Dr. Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Al-Rabe'a said that the approval is symbolic of a commitment to alleviate the sufferings of the Arab and Muslim nations." The surgery will be conducted during the next few weeks by a specialized medical team that have carried out such complex operations in the past," Al-Rabe'a noted. King Abdul Aziz Medical City in Riyadh has carried out three successful similar separation operations.
The Executive Committee of Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Organization for his Parents for Housing Development has held a meeting under the chairmanship of the Minister of Hajj Iyad Ibn Amine Madani Deputy Chairman of the Organization and Chairman of the Executive Committee. The Secretary General of the Organization Dr Youssef Ibn Ahmad Al Othaimein said the Committee has reviewed a number of administrative, financial and technical matters as well as the achievements during the period starting from 28/4/1424 to 24/7/1424. Also they reviewed the re-housing of people in some villages. Dr Al Othaimein said they discussed ways of using housing units. The Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz Organization for his Parents for Housing Development has been established and funded by Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General received the South African Minister of Defense Mosiuoa Lekota and the accompanying delegation. Prince Sultan and the South African minister held a bilateral meeting. Then they held talks. On the Saudi side, the talks were attended by Prince Khalid Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General for Military Affairs; Dr. Nizar Ibn Obaid Madani, the Assistant Foreign Minister; General Salih Ibn Ali Al-Muhayya, the Chief of General Staff and a number of senior military officials. At the outset of the meeting, on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Crown Prince, the government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan welcomed the South African defense minister and his accompanying delegation, highlighting existing cooperation between the two countries. Prince Sultan praised the development of relations and economic cooperation between businessmen in the Kingdom and South Africa, wishing the minister good stay in the Kingdom. On his part, Lekota conveyed the greetings of South Africa's president to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, the Crown Prince, the Second Deputy Prime Minister, the government and people of the Kingdom. He expressed his pride on signing the memorandum of understanding between the two countries, noting that the memorandum includes the exchange of expertise in a number of fields such as training and medical services. Then Prince Sultan and the South African defense minister signed the memorandum of understanding and exchanged memorial gifts. On the other hand, Prince Sultan hosted a luncheon party in honor of the South African defense minister. The party was attended by a number of princes, ministers and commanders of the armed forces' branches.
Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General and President of Saudi Airlines praised in a reply to a report presented to Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz by the Director General of Saudi Airlines Dr Khaled Abdullah Ibn Bakr the achievements of Saudia during last August as 1, 628, 974 travelers used its domestic and international flights. This figure surpassed all previous achievements since the establishment of sixty years ago. From his Dr Khaled Abdullah Ibn Bakr expressed his thanks and gratitude to Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz and said the new figures confirms the success of the Saudi Airlines plans and reflects the efforts exerted to serve internal tourism and travel to the Kingdom's different areas. He said that August is the peak of the tourism season. The Director General of Saudia said during July 1,567,621 used the airlines and this figure has also surpassed all previous figures. He stressed that this achievements comes at a very difficult period when air transport all over the world suffers. He added that it also reiterates the pioneering role of this national organization and its services to the country under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz and Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz.
Prince Salman Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Governor of Riyadh region, received the Hungarian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Dr. Geza Mihalyi on the occasion of the end of his term of office in the country.
Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States of America renewed the Kingdom's staunch stand against terrorism. In a speech delivered at a meeting of the World Affairs Council in San Francisco, Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan stressed that the Kingdom has not provided any kind of support whether secret or not for terrorists, denouncing the media that have published incorrect information about the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the measures taken by the Kingdom to combat terrorism, Prince Bandar noted that the Kingdom has not taken these measures to satisfy the United States of America, but they were taken since terrorism violates the core of Islamic religion. Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan's speech also dealt with the Kingdom's stand on the Palestinian issue and the current situation in Iraq. On the other hand Prince Bandar Ibn Sultan, the Kingdom's Ambassador to the United States of America, spoke about the Kingdom's efforts to fight terrorism. In a speech before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, he pointed out to the stability of the Kingdom and the achievements and the progress in development. Later, Prince Bandar held a meeting with the staff of the Los Angeles Times newspaper during which he stressed the importance of the Saudi-American relations, the joint interests and the fruitful cooperation between the two sides. He pointed out to the Kingdom's role in maintaining stability supplies of oil to the international market. With respect to the local affairs in the Kingdom, Prince Bandar said: "Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz is determined to implement economic, social, political and administration reforms to expand the participant," stressing that these reforms do not contradict the teachings of Islam, but in a form that goes along with the development in that fields.
Prince Khalid Ibn Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Assistant Minister of Defense and Aviation for Military Affairs, received Kazakhstan's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Oscar Mosinov. They reviewed issues of mutual interest.
Prince Ahmad Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Minister of the Interior received in Jeddah Dr. Mohammed Al Rasheed, the Minister of Education, and senior education officials. During the meeting, which marks the commence of the new academic year, Al Rasheed briefed Prince Ahmad on the achievements of his ministry. On his part, Prince Ahmad Ibn Abdul Aziz expressed his appreciations for the valuable services rendered by members of the education system and praised. The leaders of education process in the Kingdom.He urged them to educate the new generations on the strong bases of loyalty to the religion and the nation.
Prince Abdullah Ibn Faisal Ibn Turki, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) told an international symposium that the investment climate in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become more attractive to local and foreign investors following the issuance of the foreign investment law and the set up of SAGIA. Addressing the symposium on "investment opportunities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", Prince Abdullah said the Saudi economy is considered the biggest free market economy in the Middle east. The symposium was held on the fringes of the joint meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank currently in progress in Dubai. He added that the Kingdom's economy represents 25 percent of the gross national product of Arab countries. Also speaking at the symposium were Dr. Ibrahim Al Assaf, the Minister of Finance; Hamad Al Sayari, the Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency; Khalid Yahya, Chairman of the Railway Authority; Dr. Abdul Rahman Al Zamil, Chairman of the Saudi Exports Promotion Center; and Dr. Ibrahim Al Mifleh, Director General of the Saudi Exports Program. A large number of participants in the meetings and businessmen attended the symposium. Prince Abdullah said the Saudi market is characterized by a number of advantages, citing the big size of local market, strong and stable financial system, low inflation rate, qualified banking services, unique geographical site, and political and security stability. He highlighted the new investment system which offers several incentives for foreign investors, including the possibility of full possession of capital, equal privileges granted for Saudi investors, ability to obtain industrial loans, free transfer of capital and profit, ownership of commercial and residential real estate, recruitment of foreign laborers, and the enjoyment of the benefits of agreements on mutual protection of investment. He said SAGIA has, since its establishment, granted more than 2000 licenses to investment projects worth $15billion. Prince Abdullah estimated the volume of investments in the Kingdom during the coming 20 years to exceed one trillion U.S. dollar in the fields of electricity, water, telecommunication, infrastructure, petrochemicals, gas, agriculture, railways, information technology, tourism, education, and minerals.
Members of the new Syrian government headed by its Prime Minister, Naji Otari took on Saturday the constitutional oath before President Bashar Al-Assad at Al-Shaab palace. Later, President Al-Assad headed a meeting for the new government through which he congratulated the new cabinet wishing them success in their important missions. He underlined "the difficult circumstances facing our state and the region as a whole" stressing that "these difficulties should motivate us to raise the level of our work and to act in line with the national duty." President Al-Assad stressed that fulfilling people's aspirations is on the top of the government's duties. Concerning the administrative reform, Al-Assad stressed the necessity for combating corruption through clear work mechanisms. He underlined the importance of adopting scientific basis in choosing the qualified persons and giving jobs and promotions based on merit. He indicated the importance of developing the judicial authority and providing it with qualified and honest persons in order to be able to perform its role of realizing justice in the society asserting that honest judiciary is the basis of the lawful state. He stressed the necessity for the coordination among the ministries asserting the importance of courage, objectivity and morality to hold bureaucracy accountable and to respond to the citizens' requests. President Al-Assad pointed out that improving the standards of life and developing the industrial sectors which depend on local raw materials should be on the top of the new government's missions stressing the importance of putting a Syrian investment plan and underlining the importance of the banking, agricultural and services sectors.
The Jordanian government has renewed its refusal of the return of its Ambassador to Israel. The Jordanian Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shaher Bak said the circumstances of recalling the Jordanian Ambassador from Israel have not changed and stressed that his return depends on Israel's response to the Arab initiative for peace. The Minister said Israel's decision to expel Palestinian President Yasser Arafat would gravely undermine the Middle East peace process. "Israel's decision poses a serious threat to the process, will not contribute to the cause of peace and is prone to propel the whole region into a grave tunnel," said the Minister.
A number of ambassadors to the Kingdom expressed their greetings to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosque King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard and Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Aviation and Inspector General as well as the Saudi people on occasion of the National Day the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In several interviews the ambassadors lauded the achievements of the late King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul-Rahman Al-Saud and what the Kingdom is witnessing in various spheres. They affirmed that what has been accomplished since the start of the modern Saudi state is considered a pride to all Arabs. They also extended their thanks and appreciation to the Kingdom for supporting Arab development in different aspects. The ambassadors valued the role of the Kingdom to establish the Arab League and described it as "essential". They said that Saudi Arabia contributed effectively in forming the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which is regarded as the first Islamic organization aims at seeking the welfare of Muslims worldwide. These ambassadors are: Tunisian Ambassador Salah El-Deen Maawi, the Lebanese Ambassador Ahmad Shamar Khales, the Bahraini Ambassador Rashed Ibn Saad Al-Dosari and Egyptian ambassador Mohammad Wafik Khalil. Egypt's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohamed Rafiq Khalil Monday praised the strong and distinguished relations between Egypt and Saudi Arabia and brotherly ties between King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz and President Hosni Mubarak. In statements on the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom, Khalil pointed out to the Egyptian-Saudi coordination regarding various Arab issues and the identical views on the need to maintain the higher interests and legitimate rights of the Arab nation. Egyptian-Saudi cooperation extends to all domains through the Egyptian-Saudi Higher Committee, he said, pointing out that it would convene soon. The Egyptian diplomat congratulated the Saudi leadership and people on the monarchy's National Day. On the other hand the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ibrahim Ibn Saad Al Ibrahim praised the Saudi-Egyptian relations and stressed the strong bilateral relations between the two countries under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz and President Hosni Mubarak. He said nationals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia top the list of tourists in Egypt and Saudi Arabia tops the list of Arab investors in the Arab Republic of Egypt, with a capital of 16 billion Egyptian Pounds. Meanwhile the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Ibn Mirdas Al Qahtani lauded the brotherly relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen.
The Lebanese President Emile Lahoud stressed the importance of Arab consolidation in political, economic and social areas, as such cooperation would strengthen the Arab position and serve the interests of the people. In a speech before the delegation of the Arab Forum for Electricity that the present circumstances in the Arab region impose such coordination. The Lebanese Energy and Water Minister Ayoub Humayed and members of the delegation in the Forum had informed President Lahoud about the aim for establishing the Forum, which was formed after the meeting of Arab Electricity ministers at the Arab League in Cairo, in order to exchange views and expertise in the field of developing Electricity. The delegation included representatives from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. At the end of its meetings held in Beirut the Forum recommended giving incentives to all Arab countries to free the Electricity field and establish bodies to organize it and prepare to give ways to link between the joint Arab electricity and the EuroMed. It also recommended that both the representative of Lebanon and Morocco should intensify communications with councils for energy organizers around the world in order to gain the expertise in this field and also to improve training.
The Saudi Arabian news agency said that the chairman of the Shoura council Sheikh Saleh Ibn Abdullah Ibn Humaid has cancelled a visit which was due to Canada in protest of "negative media reports" in Canada regarding Saudi Arabia. The agency said that as scheduled, Sheikh Saleh will head for Hungary and Poland leading a delegation from the council in a visit which lasts for one week at the invitation of the two speakers of parliaments in the two countries. The agency explained that the council "cancelled a visit which was due to Canada within the context of this tour in protest of the media campaign led by the Canadian media against the Kingdom over the allegations made by the former Canadian detained in Saudi Arabia Sampson who was convicted in the explosions that took place in Riyadh."
The international conference on the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols organized by the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Science (ISISC) and the Center for Monitoring Organized Crime with the support of the Italian Ministry of Justice and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Arab Council for the Ministers of Justice and Interior at the Arab League ended its sessions held in Siracusa in Italy. The Saudi delegation was lead by the Minister of Justice Dr Abdullah Ibn Mohammed Ibn Ibrahim Al El-Sheikh. The Conference discussed the project of the Arab Convention for combating organized crime through a presentation by the Advisor to the Secretary General of the Arab League Councilor Mohammed Rashwan Khadraa and Professor of criminal law and Dean of the Faculty of Law at Damascus university Dr Aboud Al Sarraj. The final session was held under the chairmanship of Dr Mohammed Cherif Bassiouni Professor of Law, DePaul University, President of International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University and President of the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences. The Conference issued a number of recommendations calling on the international community to endorse the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols. The final statement expressed satisfaction about the positive results achieved by the conference and the announcement of some Arab countries about signing the convention. The statement particularly made references to crimes of money-laundering and corruption which Arab states were advised to create laws. Arab states that wish to enact such laws would get direct help from the UN and donor countries, said the statement, adding that it was incumbent on European countries, in particular, to enforce laws curbing illegal immigration to them. It stressed the importance of issuing national laws similar to that of the convention and called on the donors countries and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to offer help to the developing countries in order to help them to implement the clauses of the convention and its protocols. The statement called on the international community, especially Europe to exert more efforts to prevent and combat illegal immigration within the framework of human rights and enhanced cooperation with sources countries and countries of passage. It also urged countries that "export" illegal immigration to Europe and other destinations to enact laws stopping such immigrations from taking place. It stressed the importance of activating the mechanism of judicial cooperation. It reiterated the importance of the relation between organized crime and terrorism and the importance of differentiating between terrorism and right of resistance against foreign occupation. It also stressed the importance of taking the appropriate measures to stop financing terrorist groups from revenue of organized crimes and to take the appropriate steps for a comprehensive strategy to be followed. The statement praised the efforts exerted by the Arab Justice and Interior Councils in the field of fighting organized crimes over the borders and the Arab convention for fighting corruption. It is worth mentioning that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had signed the United Nations Convention for Combating Over Borders Organized Crimes in December 2002.
The Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdullah Al El-Sheikh has defended the universities education system in the Kingdom, especially Imam Mohammed Ibn Saud University in Riyadh and the Islamic University in Al Madinah Al Munawarrah against claims of being sources for terrorism. He said both universities are well established in their education system which is based on Sharia and modern developments. The Grand Mufti stressed that killing the innocent is a sin and those involved in terrorism commits crimes against humanity. He pointed out that all court rules are being issued by judges. He called on the Saudi youth to abide by the rules of God and not commit any sins and on Muslim youth to keep away from wrong ideas.
National unity is the main aspiration of the people of the Arab and Islamic world, said the King of Bahrain Hamad Ibn Isa when he received a group of religious thinkers taking part in the conference on Islamic schools of thought being held in Bahrain. He said Bahrain enjoys a great history based on openness and co-existence, qualities which were practised in the kingdom today. The King, who was speaking to an audience which included Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Ibn Salman Al Khalifa and Deputy Premier and Islamic Affairs Minister Shaikh Abdulla Ibn Khalid Al Khalifa, said Arabs and Muslims were witnessing a historical time in which they needed to remain unified at the different levels of leaders and peoples. Then the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Al Sharif, Egypt, Sheikh Dr Sayed Mohammed Tantawi gave a speech, saying the conference came at a time when Muslims needed more rapprochement, co-operation, and cohesion. He added that religious figures taking part in the conference agreed that Islamic teachings, emphasised unity and co-operation among all Muslims. Sheikh Tantawi said that various Islamic sects agreed on all "primary" Islamic elements and might differ only on "secondary" ones. Then the King, Prime Minister and members of the audience performed Al Thoher prayers at Al Rawdah Palace, reflecting the unity among all Muslim sects.
Arab finance ministers, ended the 72nd meeting of the Arab League's Economic and Social Council, urging for total financial and material support of the Palestinian people in the face of severe Israeli policies in the occupied territories. In a bid to help the cause of the Palestinians, the Council asked that tariffs against Palestinian goods be cancelled in all Arab countries while accusing Israel with having undermined the Palestinian economy over the years. The Council therefore demanded that appropriate compensations be paid to the Palestinians for economic losses caused by the Israeli government. The Council appealed to the UN and the international community to pressure Israel to give up the occupation of the Palestinian territories and to follow faithfully the articles of the road map to peace with the view of establishing an independent Palestinian state. The Arab ministers thanked the EU for stopping the imports of Israeli products and goods grown or manufactured in the occupied territories and urged other nations to follow suit. With regard to the setting up of an Arab Customs Union, the Council favored first the completion of an Arab free-trade zone and suggested as a measure for easing trade among Arab markets the convening of a meeting of Arab economic experts next December in Lebanon to set up a viable mechanism for smooth intra-Arab trade. The Council agreed to establish an Arab center for earthquakes and natural disasters to be located in Algeria and it also urged Arab states to take part actively in the Arab-Russian Fair slated to take place in Moscow from October 10 to 13. The Council moreover called on Arab states to participate in the tenth Conference for Arab businessmen and investors which will be held in Algeria next December. To improve its caliber and effectiveness, the Council agreed to delegate a committee headed by Kuwait to pursue studies aimed at ultimately improving the Council's policy-making apparatus.
The Arab Islamic conference ended its second working session in Beirut. The Statement issued at the end of the conference stressed the importance of placing the Palestinian issue at the top of the Arab and Muslim media agenda in order to face the Israeli and American media and political campaigns which insist that the Intifida and the resistance agains the Israeli occupation are terrorist acts. The statement stressed the importance of always reminding the Arab and Muslim public of the Palestinian issue and emphasize the Israeli acts against the Palestinians and the media.
The Former General Sultan Hashim Ahmad, Iraq's last defense minister under Saddam Hussein, surrendered to the American general in charge of the north of the country Friday after weeks of negotiations. The mediator, who arranged the surrender to Major General. David Petraeus, said Ahmad was handed over "with great respect'' and was with his family at the time. He said the American military had promised to remove Ahmad's name from the list of 55 most-wanted, meaning he would not face indefinite confinement and possible prosecution. Treatment for Sultan Ahmad with the "utmost dignity and respect'' was promised if he turned himself in. "His health is excellent and he is in high spirits,'' the mediator told a news conference in Mosul, 400 kilometers (240 miles) north of Baghdad. According to the mediator, Ahmad will only be kept in U.S. custody long enough for American officials to question him thoroughly. He would not be subject to prosecution, the mediator said. During the 1991 Gulf War, Ahmed, then a lieutenant general, was deputy chief of staff of the Defense Ministry, and was picked by Saddam to head the Iraqi delegation at cease-fire talks at Safwan, an airstrip just north of the Kuwait-Iraq border.
Iranian President Mohammed Khatami received Dr Nasser Ibn Ahmad Al-Bereik, who presented to him his credentials as the Saudi ambassador to Iran. Al-Bereik conveyed to Khatami the greetings of the Custodian of the two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, and Prince Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz, Second Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Aviation and Inspector General. Meanwhile Al-Bereik reviewed with President Khatami issues pertaining to bilateral relations. The meeting was attended by Saudi Charge D'affaires in Tehran Mohammed Abbas Kilabi.