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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Saudi Arabia warns of West-Islam split
HARDtalk presenter Allan Little questions the Saudi Ambassador to the UK, Dr Ghazi Algosaibi
HARDtalk's Allan Little and Dr Ghazi Algosaibi
Saudi Arabia is urging caution, despite repeating its backing for the US-led coalition against terrorism.

The Saudi ambassador to the UK, Ghazi Algosaibi, said the Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden was "a human monster."

This is very dangerous, not for our own stability, but for the stability of the whole world.

Dr Ghazi Algosaibi
But he warned there would be a backlash if military action by the United States and its allies was "perceived to be against Muslims".

Dr Algosaibi told BBC Television's HARDtalk: "We are worried that this has turned from a war against terrorism, which we support wholeheartedly and with no reservation, into a war of America or the West against Islam."

He said such a situation was very dangerous "not for our own stability but for the stability of the whole world".

"We want to spare the USA and the West this clash of civilisation that a lot of people seem to be looking forward to," he said.

I will not shed any tears if the Taleban are removed.

Saudi Ambassador Ghazi Algosaibi
The broadcast came on the same day that Saudi Arabia decided to sever its diplomatic with Afghanistan's Taleban authorities which has sheltered Bin Laden in recent years.

Mr Algosaibi said his country would welcome the demise of the Taleban and added that he had no doubt about his former countryman's terrorist credentials.

He said: "I have no doubt Bin Laden is a terrorist. I think of him as a human monster.

"A man who revels in the killing of civilians and of innocent people and takes great pride in it is a terrorist.

No request

"The Taleban regime is vulnerable anyway and I will not shed any tears if the Taleban are removed.

"But I will shed a lot of tears if there are innocent people who are killed in the process. We really do not want a clash of civilisations."

Mr Algosaibi denied that his country had refused to allow the west use of Saudi air-bases during the campaign, saying that no request had yet been made.

But he added that his country would want to see detailed plans of what they were going to be used for before agreeing to allow access.

Dr Al Gosaibi:
"We are worried about a clash of civilisation'
Dr Al Gosaibi:
"I honestly think of him as a human monster."
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