Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz discussed Saudi policy in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Siyassah, published today.
In the interview, King Abdullah condemned the deepening sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, and expressed optimism that conferences would narrow the gap among the Islamic schools of thought. “If we behave cautiously, then we will avoid the dangers,” he said.
The King also said that attempts to convert Sunnis to Shiism would not succeed. “We have been following up on this issue, but we do believe that they will not succeed in realizing their goals, because the overwhelming majority of the Muslims are Sunnis, and they will never tolerate embracing another ideology,” he said.
On Iran, King Abdullah dismissed reports that Saudi Arabia is forming an alliance with other countries against Iran.
“I have told the Iranian envoy [Ali Larinjani] that you are indicating by a way or another through your media and your supporters that the Kingdom has been allying with others against Iran, but that is absolutely incorrect, because we never interfere in the affairs of others,” the King said.
King Abdullah underscored the importance of Arab unity in resolving the region’s problems, especially the situation in Palestine. Arabs should resolve that crisis, he noted.
On terrorism, the King pointed out that Saudi security forces have succeeded in foiling attacks before they occur, and that terrorist acts have declined. “Terrorism runs counter to the teachings of Islam,” he stated.
King Abdullah added that Saudi Arabia has a policy of moderation, and with that policy it aims to keep extremism and terrorism out of society.
Turning to GCC matters, King Abdullah praised the recent Supreme Council summit held in Riyadh, and called for closer economic relations among GCC members.
“We are looking forward to see our countries open for each other, and create a market with a flexible movement of persons and commodities, and make this region a place for economic and strategic cooperation,” he said.
King Abdullah also denied reports of a rift in the Saudi royal family, pointing to the presence of a number of members of the family at a reception for Prince Abdulmajid bin Abdulaziz upon his return to the Kingdom as an indication of family solidarity.