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Wednesday, 19 December, 2001, 22:13 GMT
Riyadh: Bin Laden video is 'genuine'
Video excerpt showing Osama Bin Laden
Many Arabs still doubt the veracity of the video
Saudi Arabia's Defence Minister Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz has said he believes the videotape of Osama Bin Laden discussing the 11 September terror attacks is "genuine".

"Some people had doubts that the videotape was fake and fabricated by the United States. This is untrue. The videotape is genuine," the prince told Al-Iqtissadiah business daily, in the first official reaction to the tape from within Saudi Arabia.

Undoubtedly, in the videotape (Bin Laden) does not show any sanity, or military and national leadership

Prince Sultan
The video released by the Pentagon last week shows Bin Laden joking and laughing with friends and associates about the suicide plane attacks on New York's World Trade Center, in which more than 3,000 people died.

The US says the tape provides compelling evidence that Bin Laden was behind the attacks, but the BBC's Middle East correspondent, Frank Gardner, says that many Arabs do not agree.


"Undoubtedly, in the videotape (Bin Laden) does not show any sanity, or military and national leadership," Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying.

He described Bin Laden as "insane" and said he did not deserve the status that some accorded him.

"They have given him an inflated status and image... the man has abused himself and abused others... A man who is insane... and who appointed himself a leader for the Afghan people," Prince Sultan said.

TVs in Madrid
Washington calls the video a "smoking gun"

Prince Sultan's comments echoed earlier sentiments expressed by the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, on Saturday.

Prince Bandar denounced the Saudi-born dissident and his al-Qaeda group, describing him as a "murderous criminal".

"The tape displays the cruel and inhumane face of a murderous criminal who has no respect for the sanctity of human life or the principles of his faith," Prince Bandar said.

Differing opinion

Washington has called the Bin Laden video a "smoking gun" which puts his guilt beyond doubt, but the BBC's Frank Gardner, says that many in the Arab world believe the tape is a fake.

Some mistrust the translation of Bin Laden's remarks, which was necessary as the recording is of both very poor audio and visual quality.

Pentagon officials asked four non-government Arabic speakers to listen to the remarks and agree on a uniform translation.

But our correspondent also says some Saudis do not believe the man on the tape is really Bin Laden.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | South Asia
Osama Bin Laden transcript excerpts
13 Dec 01 | Middle East
Arabs divided over Bin Laden tape
14 Dec 01 | Americas
Bin Laden video angers New Yorkers
14 Dec 01 | Americas
Bush dismisses Bin Laden tape doubts
15 Dec 01 | UK Politics
Bin Laden video 'proves guilt'
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