2002 Press Release

Saudi Arabia calls for protocol to address child custody issues

Calling cases of child abduction “a human tragedy”, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal has called for a mechanism that can provide a practical and workable way to resolve these very difficult and delicate situations, saying: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia deplores the taking of a child without the consent of both parents.”

Last week, Prince Saud met with a U.S. Congressional delegation led by Representative Dan Burton.  The meeting was productive and both parties agreed to come up with practical and workable solutions to these tragic cases involving custody of a child.  In addition, the Saudi government has established a special committee to deal with such cases.

While most are amicably resolved, there are instances where issues of jurisdiction make it difficult for governments to interfere.

“We need a mechanism to help facilitate resolution of such cases,” said Adel Al-Jubeir, Foreign Policy Advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah.  “We look forward to working with the United States to establish a protocol in this area.   …… The integrity of the family is very important to our culture.  We want to do everything we can to ensure that children have the benefits of a relationship with both parents.”

Worldwide, there are more than 1,100 cases of child custody/abduction disputes involving American parents or American-born children.  Most of these cases involve nationals of countries adjacent to the United States or in Europe.  Less than one percent involve Saudi citizens.