[Washington, DC] - In a keynote address to the U.S./Arab Economic Summit, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said that more effort is needed to improve political, economic and cultural ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia. He also expressed deep concern about the campaign that is being waged by some, in order to undermine U.S./Saudi relations.
In his address Prince Saud stated, “If the objective of this campaign is to cast doubts on the Kingdom, taint its reputation, and damage its ties with America, then the people waging it are knowingly or unknowingly serving the purposes of bin Laden by trying to divide our two nations.”
Prince Saud emphasized the close cooperation that currently exists between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, especially in the War on Terrorism, and cited the many successes that joint counter-terrorism efforts have achieved. He also dismissed charges that have been leveled against Saudi Arabia which have attempted to malign Saudi society, faith and culture.
“That we are a conservative Islamic country is true. This has been known for over sixty years. If we can be accused of anything, it is our insularity, and that we prefer to be left alone. But we cannot be accused of being an expansionist entity that seeks world domination.”
Prince Saud also expressed optimism that myths and misconceptions that have surrounded Saudi Arabia will soon be corrected.
“I have no doubt that the campaign to malign the Kingdom will fail because facts, as President Reagan used to say, are stubborn things. And the facts are we have fought - and are fighting - hard in this War on Terrorism. Our leaders have declared a relentless war not only on the terrorists, but on those who support their ideology, fund and sustain them, or provide justification for their acts.”
Prince Saud also addressed the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the current situation in Iraq.[Full text of the speech]