In a press conference today, Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz commented on the positive response to the campaign for donations to the Afghan people, saying over SR 130 million [U.S. $ 34.7 million] had been collected during last Thursday's telethon, and announcing that a second fundraiser will soon take place. Declaring the Kabul regime responsible for the sufferings of the Afghan people, he prayed that their sufferings will soon come to an end.
Concerning media reports in the United States and certain European countries that are critical of Saudi Arabia, Prince Nayef denied that Saudi Arabia has its own religious approach that is not in conformity with contemporary life, declaring: "We in the Kingdom apply the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah [example of the Prophet], but this does not mean that we are not open to others." Citing the cohesion that exists between the Kingdom's leadership and its citizens, he pointed out that any citizen can easily meet with the King, the Crown Prince or any other minister, without formalities and restrictions, and asked whether it is possible for citizens of the western democracies to meet with their officials in this way. These biased media campaigns, he reiterated, will have no effect on the Kingdom, since, he declared: "We have strong confidence in God Almighty." He added that, while in no need of help from anyone, Saudi Arabia wishes "to establish friendly relations that serve mutual interests in all spheres." The principles that Saudis adhere to, he declared, never block progress and development.
Prince Nayef commented that charitable societies are allowed to work unfettered as long as they engage in humanitarian activities, adding: "We ask those who raise suspicions or have any information, to provide us facts that the assistance is not reaching those who really deserve it." To a question on directing the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) to search accounts for links to Al-Qaeda, he answered that Saudi authorities have not as yet uncovered any accounts linked to bin Ladin or to any terrorist group.
On the possible involvement of Saudis in the attacks in the United States, Prince Nayef reiterated that investigation in the Kingdom has found no proof of any Saudi being a member of the Al-Qaeda organization. He expressed regret at misinformation being circulated by certain mass media, and affirmed that Saudi citizens are concerned with security and are cooperating and supporting their leadership. Regarding calls by certain people in the Kingdom for jihad, and to support bin Ladin, he said these are limited to one or two prayer leaders.
As for suspicious mail in the Kingdom, Prince Nayef said there has been none so far, but that all measures have been taken by the Kingdom concerning bio-terrorism and Al-Qaeda threats to hit western interests in Arab and Islamic countries.