2000 News Story

GCC interior ministers hold consultative meeting

The Interior Ministers of the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) today concluded in Riyadh their first consultative meeting. In a press statement, its chairman Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz declared that the meeting had recommended ways of expediting the security pact, working towards the common identity card, and establishing freedom to work for all GCC citizens in all member states. He denied that its purpose was to discuss security agreements with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Asked about the unprecedented incident in Najran, Prince Nayef quoted the statement that was issued at the time, to the effect that "what happened has no aftereffects, no background and no roots". He made the observation that not one of the demonstrators was injured, simply because the security forces did not fire on them. He confirmed that one security officer was killed, and five were injured, and that three foreigners were also injured. The incident, he said, was treated peacefully by the security forces, but he warned that since such behavior is deplorable, it should never happen again, and the use of more aggressive measures by the security forces in such incidents cannot be ruled out. He reported that some of those who triggered the incident had been held for investigation. He added that the security forces do not differentiate between Najran and any other Saudi town, but confirmed that some followers of the Ismailiya sect enjoy freedom to practice their religious rights in Najran. He also reported that the main instigator of the incident is a Yemeni national illegally residing in the Kingdom.

Concerning his visit to Iran, Prince Nayef said this was in connection with the agreement on fighting crime and drugs and to effect security cooperation in the area of telecommunications; he denied that the talks in Tehran touched on the Al-Khobar incident.