Public opinion in the kingdom has been incensed by a string of articles in the US press criticising Saudi Arabia for its role in the international coalition that emerged after 11 September. Some newspapers have alleged that the kingdom is lukewarm in its support for the war against terrorism, damaging its reputation in the West. ‘By now you are aware of the situation and the deliberate and malicious campaign against your country,’ said Crown Prince Abdullah. ‘You have a duty to explain to those you know the real situation in your country.’

Attempts to attract foreign investment into the kingdom are also to be renewed in the face of the global economic downturn and the perceived political volatility of the Middle East. ‘Be assured that, God willing, your government will continue to boost and facilitate investment,’ said Crown Prince Abdullah.