Foreign Minister holds press conference

March 9, 2011

Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal held a press conference in Jeddah today, during which he stressed the Kingdom’s absolute rejection of foreign interference in its internal affairs and steadfast opposition to any infringement upon its Islamic principles. The Foreign Minister maintained that the Kingdom’s laws and regulations are based on Sharia (Islamic law) and are meant to ensure the country’s security, stability and integrity.

Referring to the declarations put out by the  Council of Senior Ulema [Council of Senior Scholars] and the Grand Mufti prohibiting public protests, Prince Saud said, “These statements stressed the necessity to stand by the interests of society and emphasized that reform and advice can not be made through demonstrations and methods that raise sedition and cause disunity. These statements forbade demonstrations that violate the applicable regulations, which are based on the Holy Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet. I hope that this stance is clear.”

Asked about the unrest being witnessed in a number of Arab countries, Prince Saud replied, “I think each country has its characteristics and each country is different than the other; thus, we cannot treat their circumstances collectively as if it is a common phenomenon. There are twenty-two Arab states. For four or five of them to face similar events in some aspects should not be out of the ordinary, but the method of treating them should be different.”

Questioned about whether events in the region are being instigated by foreign intervention, Prince Saud said, “The external intervention is obvious . . . whether it is the main cause or not, I think each country has its peculiar conditions in this context.” Regarding reports that there are “foreign fingers” intervening inside Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud declared, “We will cut off any finger that comes into the Kingdom.” He added, “Change comes by the citizens of this country and not through [foreign] theories . . . This nation knows its interests and needs and the way to achieve its goals and will continue to maintain its independence.”

Asked about reports that Iran is trying to stir unrest inside the Kingdom, Prince Saud said: “As for Iran, we hope it deals only with the demonstrations in its country. We do not have demonstrations like those in Iran, and I repeat what I have said before that we will not tolerate any interference in our internal affairs by any party whatsoever . . . Had the Kingdom spotted any interference, we would have dealt with them decisively.” He denied reports carried by the Iranian News Agency  that a planned visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Saudi Arabia was canceled due to differences in opinion over Bahrain, saying, “It is not unusual that the Iranian press fabricates such news.”

Prince Saud said that the issue of Libya will be taken up by the Arab League during its meeting on Saturday.  He stated, “I have declared that the objective is to stem the bleeding and to maintain the unity of Libya.” In response to reports circulated by a number of foreign newspapers regarding a U.S. request for the Kingdom to arm or finance the revolutionaries in Libya, Prince Saud said, “I’ve never heard such reports nor imagined that.”

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