Saudi defense minister to visit Yemen [Archives:2003/645/Front Page]

June 26 2003

KUWAIT CITY, June 24 (Xinhua) ) Saudi Arabia's Defense Minister Sheikh Sultan Ibn Abdul Aziz will travel to Yemen on an official three-day visit on July 5, the official KUNA news agency reported Tuesday.
The minister, as a member of the Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, will head the kingdom's delegation to the Yemeni capital of Sanaa for the council's 15th meeting.
During his visit, Sheikh Sultan, who is also the second deputy prime minister, will convey messages from Saudi King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, the oil-rich kingdom's de factor ruler.
The council is expected to discuss political, security, economic, cultural and educational issues. In addition, a few agreements are scheduled to be signed between the two countries.
Fighting terrorism is high on the agenda and the two sides are expected to discuss ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in this regard.
Saudi Arabia and Yemen have repeatedly asserted the importance of boosting security cooperation between the two countries to achieve stability and security in the region.
Earlier in the month, the two countries signed an agreement to combat inter-border arms smuggling and terrorism.
The agreement was signed following the May 12 Riyadh bombings that killed 34 people and wounded 194 others.
Earlier in the month, the Saudi authorities found a large amount of arms and explosives in Najran, located in the Saudi-Yemeni border area.
Saudi officials have said they believe the explosives used in the devastating May 12 triple suicide attacks on residential compounds in Riyadh were smuggled into the kingdom from Yemen.
The Saudi-Yemeni border is largely not demarcated, and is a notorious hot spot of arms, drugs and liquor smugglers. In April 2001, the two countries signed an agreement for demarcating the 1,400-km-long joint border.
Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks on New York and Washington in 2001, Saudi Arabia and Yemen have stepped up security coordination. The Saudi-Yemeni Coordination Council, established in 1975, meets in alternate countries every other year.