Saudi Ruler to make pilgrimage to the White House

  • From: "Muslim News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 05:51:09 -0000

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has accepted an
invitation from President Bush to visit Washington, nine months after
the kingdom's de facto ruler snubbed a similar invite over perceived
U.S. pro-Israel bias. 
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The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Sunday the invitation was
delivered by Vice President Dick Cheney who met Prince Abdullah on
Saturday to discuss a Saudi peace plan for the Middle East that has been
welcomed by Washington. 

SPA said the crown prince has "accepted the invitation, whose date will
be set later." It gave no further details and U.S. officials traveling
with Cheney on his Middle East tour were not immediately available for

Cheney was the most senior official in the Bush administration to meet
Prince Abdullah, who has been running the day-to-day affairs of the
world's biggest oil producer since King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995. 

In June, Abdullah turned down Bush's invitation to visit the White House
to show his anger over perceived lack of U.S. action to restrain Israel
in trying to quell a Palestinian uprising for independence. 

Two months later, the crown prince wrote a letter to Bush warning that
U.S.-Saudi relations were at a crossroads and that Riyadh would be
forced to review its ties with Washington unless it took active steps to
resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

Relations were strained further following the September 11 attacks on
the United States with U.S. media and some senators criticizing Saudi
Arabia for not doing enough against terrorism. 

The U.S. says 15 of the 19 suicide hijackers who took part in the
attacks were Saudis. Washington has accused Saudi-born Osama bin Laden
of masterminding the attacks. 

But ties between the two allies warmed recently following a series of
visits by officials from both sides and Abdullah's peace proposal for
normalizing Arab relations with Israel in return for its withdrawal from
lands occupied in the 1967 Middle East war. 

Abdullah has said that most Arab states had agreed on his initiative,
which he intends to formally propose at an Arab summit this month in

Source:  Reuters
Comment:  The Saudi Initiative is not a new one. 

In August 1981 Crown Prince Fahd put forward an eight-point peace plan.
The plan became known as the Fahd Plan. The Plan consisted of the
following provisions: 

1.Israel to withdraw from all Arab territory occupied in 1967, including
Arab Jerusalem. 

2.Israeli settlements built on Arab land after 1967 to be dismantled,
including those in Arab Jerusalem. 

3.A guarantee of freedom of worship for all religions in the Holy

4.An affirmation of the right of the Palestinian Arab people to return
to their homes and compensation for those who do not wish to return. 

5.The West Bank and the Gaza Strip to have a transitional period under
the auspices of the United Nations for a period not exceeding several

6.An independent Palestinian State should be set up with Jerusalem as
its capital. 

7.All States in the region should be able to live in peace in the

8.The United Nations or Member States of the United Nations to guarantee
the carrying out of these provisions.

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