TEXT:*94071402.PFN  gore: mabus ambass to riyadh/#aq sg kf +

*NEA406   07/14/94


(Hails U.S.-Saudi relations at Mabus swearing-in) (680)

By Ahmed Qutub

USIA Staff Writer

Washington -- President Clinton's selection of Raymond Mabus as the new U.S.

ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demonstrates his "determination

to send one of America's very best to such an important diplomatic

assignment," Vice President Gore said July 13.

Speaking at a State Department swearing-in ceremony for Mabus, Gore said

that this selection demonstrates Clinton's "commitment to send someone who

understands extremely well how decisions are made in the U.S. government,

and who understands very well the whole concerns that need to be taken into


Gore said that Clinton "admires Raymond...he values his personality and

character, his drive, his enormous intelligence and his ability to

communicate ideas clearly."  He added, "This will be particularly valuable

in serving this extremely important relationship between the United States

and Saudi Arabia."

Mabus, who served as governor of Mississipi in 1988-92, welcomed Clinton's

invitation to serve as ambassador to a "vital ally and a partner for

stability and peace in the Middle East."

The vice president said that Operation Desert Storm has demonstrated to many

the "vital importance of American-Saudi cooperation," adding that Saudi

Arabia is "one of our important commercial partners and a valued friend."

Mabus said before several hundred guests -- including Prince Bandar Ben

Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington -- that Saudi Arabia has an

"unprecedented impact on the world's energy equation" and is a major market

for American goods, and therefore for American workers -- buying $10

billion worth of our products in the past four months alone."

Cooperation between our two countries, Gore stressed, is "built on a solid

foundation, bilateral friendship, understanding and the pursuit of common

goals."  He cited U.S.-Saudi partnership during the Cold War when both

"worked together in Afghanistan."  Today, he added, "we consult together

closely on Bosnia, Yemen and other international trouble spots."

Gore said that both Americans and Saudis value their traditions and

commitments, and both believe that family is the basic building bloc of the

society.  He added that "Building on such shared values, our people can

relate to one another easy and well...."

The vice president declared that the United States is "confident that

1overnor Mabus will build on the rich foundation of our two countries'

common interests and shared beliefs.  And we are confident that Saudi

Arabia will find in Governor Mabus a valued friend, a trusted interlocutor

and eager partner in developing our bilateral relationship."

"I only hope to do my job in Riyadh as well as Prince Bandar has done his

job in Washington," Mabus said, adding, "the fact that Prince Bandar came

back from Saudi Arabia to be here today, shows the seriousness with which

he takes his job and the importance to both countries of the relationship."

Gore welcomed the presence of "my close friend Prince Bandar Ben Sultan, who

is indeed the dean of the diplomatic corps here in Washington, and a leader

of the diplomatic community in many ways."

Referring to a recent visit he made with Prince Bandar to the Islamic Center

in Washington, the first by a vice president, Gore said, "I certainly

appreciate that visit.... It was a quite moving experience for me, a

learning experience, and one which meant a great deal to me."

Gore hailed the progress Saudi Arabia has made in a relatively short period

of time.  Saudi Arabia, he said, "is an important and an amazing place.  In

just a few short decades, it built a modern high technology state, and

improved health care and education a lot for all of its citizens."

The vice president congratulated Saudi Arabia for the excellent performance

of its soccer team at the World Cup 1994 tournament.  "We were thrilled,"

he said, "with the outstanding performance of the Saudi soccer team.

Soccer is a team game.  Teams get better when they are together a long

time.  And our countries have proved that, too."