Minister of Interior Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, at a press conference yesterday following his meeting with visiting Austrian President Dr. Thomas Klestil, reiterated the Kingdom's condemnation of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States, and stressed the importance of taking appropriate measures to eliminate terrorism.
Prince Nayef declared that the Kingdom is against terrorists whatever their nationality, and described Saudi-American relations as excellent. He then refuted allegations that the Kingdom had not taken the required measures to prevent funds going to Osama bin Ladin, saying the opposite is true. As for the U.S. air strikes against Afghanistan, he said: "We wish the United States could have succeeded in forcing the terrorists to leave Afghanistan without resorting to bombing, because so many innocent people will be victims of this bombardment." Commenting on the acts of terrorism that have recently taken place in Saudi Arabia itself, Prince Nayef remarked that in spite of all precautions, it is hard to predict such subversive acts.
Meanwhile, at yesterday's regular meeting of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura) Prince Nayef, together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal addressed a closed-door session on the subject of terrorism, focusing on the indiscriminate loss of lives that were protected by divine teachings and on the efforts being exerted by a number of countries to bring about an end to the phenomenon of terrorism. Prince Nayef recounted past experiences of various states, what may happen in the future, and how international cooperation is now urgent in order to stop random acts of terror that do not differentiate between the innocent and the guilty. The Kingdom, he said, has itself been a target, and has made great efforts to stop terrorism, seeking to sign agreements with Arab countries and others aimed at tracking down terrorists, bringing them to justice, and facilitating the extradition of criminals.
Prince Saud gave a briefing on current international efforts to eliminate the causes of terrorism, and declared that global cooperation had become obligatory. He agreed with Prince Nayef that Saudi Arabia has never accepted, nor would ever accept, to be a haven for terrorists, or for anyone who deviates from the right path of true religion, and that Saudi Arabia will do everything that is dictated by its religious, social and political duties to provide protection for the citizens and expatriates living on its territory. The Kingdom, they declared, would help the international community to root out the seeds of terrorism wherever they are found.