U.S. Treasury Secretary Applauds Saudi Efforts to Combat Terror Financing

July 15, 2009

[Washington, DC] – United States Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner commended Saudi Arabia Tuesday for the steps it has taken to combat the financing of terrorist groups and the spread of nuclear weapons.  Secretary Geithner, visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since his appointment, addressed the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on July 14. Following his address, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, received Secretary Geithner and his accompanying delegation at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Yanbu. 

During his speech, Secretary Geithner praised Saudi Arabia for having “…taken important steps to combat financing for terrorist groups, to deter and disrupt those who support violent extremism, and to join with us in our efforts to combat the proliferation of nuclear weapons.”  

Secretary Geithner also recognized the historical bilateral economic relationship, stating: “The United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have a long legacy of economic relations.” For the past four decades, the U.S. has been Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner, while the Kingdom remains the largest market for American products in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia holds international cooperation as a central component to the success of its counterterrorism efforts. Saudi officials, security and counterterrorism experts work with their counterparts throughout the world to ensure programmatic effectiveness and to maintain cooperation. 

During the past decade, Saudi Arabia has taken significant steps to identify and stop financing of terrorism and extremism within its borders and around the world, including a series of financial controls and banking regulations established by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA). In 2005, for example, the Kingdom officially established its Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is tasked with handling money laundering and terror finance cases. To ensure the success of these regulations, the Kingdom has created special training programs for bankers, prosecutors, judges, customs officers and other officials from government departments and agencies.

For more information on Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts, visit the Saudi Embassy website at www.saudiembassy.net.