2004 News Story

Prince Saud Al-Faisal’s briefing covers terrorism, reform, Iraq, Middle East

In his press briefing today, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal commented on the speech delivered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz at the opening session of the new working year of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), saying while it outlined the main aspects of the Kingdom's domestic and foreign policies as well as the government’s achievements, it confirmed that Saudi Arabia stands firm against terrorism in all its forms; and that reform in the Kingdom is a tangible reality covering all aspects of life.

Declaring that the recent barbaric attacks that have taken place in the Kingdom reflect the real nature of the terrorists, Prince Saud denounced the brutal killing of an innocent American citizen and paid tribute to the bravery of the Saudi security forces. He denied that foreign residents are leaving the Kingdom en masse, pointing out that there are usually departures at this time of year, for summer vacation. The Saudi people, he said, share with their guests a feeling of disgust at the beheading of an innocent foreigner in the Saudi capital.

Asked whether he believes the killing of Almuqrin signals the end of the terrorist group’s activities in the Kingdom, Prince Saud said it had been dealt a strong blow but he could not predict its end. He declared that the best way to wipe out terrorists is to confront them, and urged greater international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, pointing out that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's call for American citizens in Saudi Arabia to stay is the rational approach, since fleeing is not the way to fight terrorism, although this is contrary to calls from other U.S. administration officials to leave the Kingdom.

Commenting on Saudi-U.S. relations, Prince Saud expressed disagreement with the idea that people are divided into two categories; some liking the United States and others hating it. Outrage against the United States, however, arises from Washington's indifference towards Israel's flagrant violations of human rights in the Palestinian territories.

For Iraq, Prince Saud expressed the hope that it will have its sovereignty restored in order to pave the way for its political, economic, social and security reconstruction; to a question, he replied that the sovereign government of Iraq has the right to allow or refuse foreign troops on its soil, even those from neighboring countries.

For the Middle East, Prince Saud hoped that the forthcoming meeting of the Quartet will be able to revive the peace process, reiterating the Kingdom's call for constitutional cooperation between it and the Arab Peace Initiative Commission, with efforts unified and consultations held, in order to bring about a comprehensive, fair and permanent peace in the region.

The Kingdom, Prince Saud said, is satisfied with the results of the recent Istanbul session of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and extends congratulations to the new OIC Secretary-General Mr. Akmaluddin Oghlo. He went on to express Saudi Arabia’s welcome of the no-nuclear-test agreement between Pakistan and India.