1999 News Story

Prince Nayef's Statement Concerning Iraqi Pilgrims (Hajj 1419)

Interior Minister Prince Nayef Ibn Abdul Aziz, at a press conference following his inspection tour of Makkah and other Holy Places, made a statement on the confusion that had occurred to the Iraqi Pilgrims and prevented them from performing Hajj . Prince Nayef began by saying it is truly regrettable and painful that the Iraqi authorities ordered the Iraqi Pilgrims to return to Iraq after they reached Jadidat Arar crossing point in the Kingdom's Northern Borders Province. Prince Nayef also conveyed and affirmed the pain and regret of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz, the 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, and the Saudi people and government, for this behavior with the Pilgrims. He reiterated to his brotherly Iraqi Pilgrims, that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shares with them and other Iraqi people the pain because it is regrettable to use a religious duty, which the Almighty God has prescribed for the Muslims, for political aims. Prince Nayef reconfirmed the truth of this incident, that the Iraqi authorities, not the Saudi authorities, had turned 18,000 Iraqi Pilgrims back at the Jadidat Arar Borders. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not under any circumstance use the Hajj occasion and the performance of religious duties, for any political purpose. Moreover, the Iraqi authorities had handed a letter to the Saudi authorities containing their requests, which had not been rejected. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia facilitated the Iraqi Pilgrims all their desired requirements without any obstacles and expressed the readiness to provide anything that would help them in performing the Hajj this year. In spite of all this, the Iraqi authorities had decided to go back without entering the Saudi border. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's main goal of processing an easy and very comfortable procedure is to have the Iraqi Pilgrims be able to perform the Hajj . Prince Nayef added that Almighty God is aware of the conscience of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and his Crown Prince and that of the Saudi people and this is the reality of this incident: anything other than this is false.