[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 April, 2004, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Saudi complaint at US media image
Prince Saud al-Faisal
The prince said if Saudis were responsible for Bin Laden, so was the US
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister has complained that criticism in the US is harming Saudi efforts to fight terror.

Prince Saud al-Faisal blamed parts of the US media for demonising Saudi Arabia, citing several recent books which said it nurtured extremism.

He said the country's critics actually served al-Qaeda militants who wanted to overthrow the Saudi monarchy.

In a speech at New York's Foreign Policy Association, he said alienation and suspicion had to be reversed.

"It is ironic that those who most vociferously attack Saudi Arabia are unwittingly serving the purposes of al-Qaeda," Prince Saud said.

If Saudi Arabia is guilty for what [Bin Laden] has become, the US must surely share the blame
Prince Saud al-Faisal
"The attacks lead to undermining a country that is probably most capable of not only waging the war against [al-Qaeda], but also in preventing them spreading their cultist ideology in the Islamic world."

He added that to overthrow the Saudi regime, al-Qaeda "had first to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the United States... and what better tool to utilise than the spectacular criminal act of 11 September?"

And he recalled that the US supported foreign Islamic militants during the Afghan war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, which made Washington as much to blame as Riyadh for the rise of Osama Bin Laden.

Relentless commitment

Some US congressmen have criticised the Saudis for not having done enough to fight terrorism and crack down on its financial backers.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," Prince Saud said.

Saudi police officers
Several Saudi police officers have been killed in recent attacks
"After last week's events in Riyadh, I don't think any reasonable person can cast doubts about our commitment to waging a relentless war on terrorism."

He was referring to a large car bomb targeting a police headquarters in the Saudi capital which killed five people and wounded 145 others.

Police also had several armed confrontations with al-Qaeda suspects in and around Riyadh in which at least seven militants and four officers were killed.

In the latest counter insurgency operation, security forces have surrounded at least four suspects who fled to a rugged, cave-riddled enclave north-west of the capital, AFP reported.

On Monday, King Fahd ordered a 25% pay rise for police units involved in trying to combat terrorism.

Saudi forces kill Jeddah suspects
23 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Saudi police to get danger money
26 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Saudi group claims Riyadh bombing
22 Apr 04  |  Middle East
US citizens urged to leave Saudi
15 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Saudi 'militants' kill 4 police
13 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Saudi shootout kills 'militant'
05 Apr 04  |  Middle East
Country profile: Saudi Arabia
16 Nov 03  |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific