Saudi CP Arrives in Syria on Tour Focused on Palestinian Crisis
Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdelaziz arrived in Syria on Tuesday on the first leg of a four-nation tour focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reported the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The prince is also to visit Germany, Sweden and Morocco, having dropped Canada from the itinerary.
He was welcomed at Damascus airport by President Bashar Al Assad, before beginning talks at his guesthouse, the Tishrin palace.
The talks were also attended by vice presidents Abdel Halim Khaddam and Zuheir Masharka, said SPA.
Syrian Information Minister Mohammed Omran was quoted by AFP as stressing "the positive impact of the special Saudi-Syrian relations on the Arab nation."
Both Riyadh and Damascus "refuse to give away an inch of occupied Arab territory and are seeking a just and comprehensive peace based on international principles guaranteeing the return of all occupied Arab territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said.
Abdullah is accompanied on his two-day visit to Damascus by Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal, Trade Minister Ussama Fakih, Oil Minister Ali Al Nuaimi, Finance and Economy Minister Ibrahim Al Assaf and Industry Minister Hashem Yamani, SPA said.
SPA said that during his tour Prince Abdullah would examine the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian territories and occupied Arab land because of Israel's "savage aggression."
One aim of the tour is "to support the Palestinian cause and make the international community face its responsibilities [regarding] the daily butchery carried out by Israeli occupation forces."
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien's office said on May 31 that Abdullah had postponed a visit to Ottawa that was to have coincided with the opening of a new Saudi embassy building.
Canadian MPs had demanded the trip be cancelled because of the alleged mistreatment of a Canadian held in Saudi jail in connection with explosions in Riyadh last November that killed a Briton.
The Saudi crown prince cancelled his visit "because of criticism from Canadian officials and newspapers of the security and religious situation in the kingdom," the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh said last week.
He has also decided not to add the United States to the tour.
Diplomats in the Saudi capital said the crown prince was protesting Washington's support for Israel – Albawaba.com
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