Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has said that Britain did not act on information provided by the Kingdom that could have averted the July 7, 2005 suicide bombings in London. He also expressed the belief that countries, including Britain, should do more to fight terrorism.
The King made the remarks in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC prior to arriving in Britain for a three-day official visit, which begins today.
“I believe that most countries are not taking this issue too seriously, including, unfortunately, Great Britain,” the King said through a translator. “We have sent information to Great Britain before the terrorist attacks in Britain, but unfortunately no action was taken and it may have been able to maybe avert the tragedy.”
King Abdullah declined to give details about the information provided by the Kingdom to Britain.
Asked if Al-Qaeda has been defeated in Saudi Arabia, the King replied, “No, it has not been completely defeated. And I believe strongly, and I have said so in my public comments, that it will take 20-30 years to defeat the scourge of terrorism, with vigilance.”
He also reiterated the importance of establishing an international counterterrorism center.
Turning to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, King Abdullah said that it is too soon to say whether Saudi Arabia would attend a US-proposed peace summit in Maryland next month. The King stressed that any such conference would fail unless all parties make a serious effort to address key issues.
“Our Palestinian brethren are not optimistic, and I think that if good arrangements are not made for the conference, and if serious work is not done for the issues that concern the Palestinians and the Arab and Muslim world, I think it will not be successful,” the King told the BBC.
Asked whether Syria and Hamas should participate in the summit, the King replied that Hamas and Fatah should reach an agreement, and that Syrian participation would be important since it is a concerned party.