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Friday, 12 October, 2001, 05:33 GMT 06:33 UK
New York rejects Saudi millions
new york
Row: Giuliani shows Walid the ruins in New York
New York city officials have rejected a $10m donation from a prominent member of the Saudi royal family after he said America should "re-examine its policies" in the wake of the attacks on New York and Washington.

On a visit to the city, Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz - a nephew of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and one of the world's richest men - called the destruction of the World Trade Center a tremendous crime.

But in a separate statement, he said that the US Government should reconsider its polices in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinians.

We must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack

Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz
Mayor Rudi Giuliani said he entirely rejected the prince's comments, calling them "highly irresponsible and very, very dangerous".

He said the people who had attacked New York had lost any right to ask for justification when they slaughtered more than 5,000 innocent people, and the Prince's cheque would not be accepted.

Mr Walid is ranked by Forbes magazine as the world's sixth richest man, with an estimated personal fortune of $20.3bn.

Palestinian issue

In a statement released by his company as he visited Ground Zero with the mayor, Mr Walid said: "I believe the government of the United States should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause.

World Trade Center ruins
Mayor Giuliani said there was no justification for the attack on the World Trade Center
"Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek."

Speaking at a City Hall news conference later, Mr Giuliani said there could be no justification for the 11 September attacks.

"The people who did it lost any right to ask for justification for it when they slaughtered four or five thousand innocent people, and to suggest that there is a justification for it only invites this happening in the future," he said.

Saudi Arabia is reported to have turned down a request for UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to visit the desert kingdom on his current tour of the Middle East.

Downing Street denied the prime minister had been rebuffed, saying Mr Blair had discussed making a visit in a telephone call with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah last week but it could not be fitted into Mr Blair's schedule.

The BBC's Jane Standley
"The cheque will now be returned to Saudi Arabia"
See also:

11 Oct 01 | Americas
New York, one month on
01 Oct 01 | Middle East
Saudi leaders fear Muslim backlash
12 Sep 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
25 Sep 01 | Middle East
Saudi Arabia warns of West-Islam split
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