2003 News Story

Ambassador reiterates on British TV Saudi position on terrorism

Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland Prince Turki Al-Faisal, in a televised interview on Britain's Channel Four, reiterated the importance of publishing the omitted parts of the U.S. Congress 9-11 report so as to the enable Saudi Arabia to comment on them. He noted that President George W. Bush had referred to the friendship that exists between Saudi Arabia and the United States, and their cooperation in confronting terrorism. On the possibility of resorting to oil as a weapon to put pressure for publication of those pages, Prince Turki remarked that this is not possible, since the oil market is characterized by price fluctuation and there are alternative sources. Commenting on Omar Bayoumi and his alleged relations with terrorism, Prince Turki said Bayoumi had been interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) before and after 9-11, and released. Stressing the Kingdom's readiness to cooperate with the United States in the war on terrorism, he pointed out that this cooperation existed even before 9-11. While head of Saudi Intelligence, he said, he himself went to Afghanistan to persuade Taleban leaders to extradite Osama bin Ladin to be tried in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the Secretariat-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) issued a statement today voicing opposition to the accusations implied in the 9-11 report against Saudi Arabia, pointing out the effective role being played by the Kingdom in the war on terrorism, supporting the publication of the blanked-out pages, and confirming the GCC's concern to enhance relations with the United States on the bases of mutual interest and mutual respect.