At a press conference in Riyadh yesterday evening, visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage expressed his country's condolences for the victims of the terrorist explosion at Al-Mutaya residential complex early Sunday morning. He went on to declare that the United States believes this act of terrorism will not affect the path of reform chosen for Saudi Arabia by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz. Secretary Armitage praised the bilateral relations between the two countries, which have, in spite of some strain at times, endured over 60 years, and gave assurances that the United States is working to maintain, and even improve, these relations. He particularly praised the cooperation that exists in combating terrorism, and pledged his country's continuing partnership with the Kingdom in this.
Secretary Armitage commented that closure of the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh arose not from a specific, but a general threat, and that the government of Saudi Arabia had similar information. He described as "first rate" the efforts of the Saudi security forces, and noted that this terrorist attack had all the hallmarks of Al-Qaeda, pointing out similarities with the May 12 attack. As for a media campaign against the Kingdom, he stressed how unfair it is to single out one country at a time when terrorism has become an international phenomenon, commenting that Saudi Arabia is itself a victim of terrorism. As regards Al-Qaeda's goal in carrying out such an attack, he remarked that he believed Al-Qaeda is directing its terrorist activities against the government and people of Saudi Arabia.