HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi Foreign Minister
The following statement was released by HRH Prince Saud Al-Faisal following his meeting with President George W. Bush at the White House in Washington DC on July 29, 2003:
On Thursday July 24, a 900-page report was published by the Congressional Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. In that report Saudi Arabia is indicted by insinuation. It is an outrage to any sense of fairness that 28 blank pages are now considered substantial evidence to proclaim the guilt of a country that has been a true friend and partner to the United States for over 60 years.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been wrongfully and morbidly accused of complicity in the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This accusation is based on misguided speculation and is born of poorly disguised malicious intent; it has been refuted by the consistent public statements of the President and responsible Administration officials, especially those who have access to the facts and who have praised Saudi Arabia as an active and strong ally in the war on terrorism.
The report seems to have overlooked or intentionally ignored Saudi Arabia’s continuing efforts to fight terrorism. It does not speak to the reality of the actions and achievements made by the Kingdom. There is no mention of the fact that Saudi Arabia has questioned thousands of individuals and arrested more than 500 suspects since September 11. Saudi actions have not only led to the arrest of major terrorists and the dismantling of their cells in Saudi Arabia, but also led to similar results in the United States. In the area of finance, the report never mentioned the many steps that have been taken such as strict auditing procedures and financial control mechanisms to ensure that our tradition of charitable giving cannot be abused.
We have nothing to hide. And we do not seek nor do we need to be shielded. We believe that releasing the missing 28 pages will allow us to respond to any allegations in a clear and credible manner; and remove any doubts about the Kingdom’s true role in the war against terrorism and its commitment to fight it.
I have conveyed these views in a letter from His Royal Highness Crown Prince Abdullah to President Bush. The President expressed understanding of the Crown Prince’s position, and renewed his own appreciation for our role in the war against terrorism. The President indicated that release of missing pages, at this time, would compromise operations and undermine ongoing investigations. And anyone who believes that this President will cover up for anyone culpable in the events of 9/11 must be out of touch with reality, or driven by ulterior motives.
The President congratulated Saudi Arabia on the actions it has taken in the War against Terrorism, and assured me that these are the actions of a strong ally in this war who deserves our appreciation. The President also noted that our two nations are not only allies but also victims in this war. The fact, as the President said, that we are both victims of terror and partners in the war against it, makes it incumbent upon us to work together effectively in an environment of trust and mutual confidence if we are to prevail in this war.