Riyadh hits back at US 'Saudi bashers'

06 December 2002

The Saudi embassy in Washington launched a damage limitation campaign on 3 December to counter what it called 'Saudi bashing', saying the kingdom had been 'unfairly maligned' by the Western media and arguing that Riyadh remained one of the US' chief allies in the war on terrorism. The press conference was held a week after reports surfaced that the FBI was investigating alleged financial links between Princess Haifa al-Faisal, wife of the Saudi ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and the hijackers implicated in the 11 September attacks last year.

Saudi diplomat Adel al-Jubeir told the conference that the kingdom was introducing new measures to prevent Saudi charitable donations from supporting terrorism, saying the country had frozen $5.6 million in assets and was setting up new regulations for the establishment of charities. US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the steps amounted to 'a very serious effort' by the Saudi government: 'We have asked them to do more and now they have responded in what seems to me to be a fairly forthright way.'

The US administration has repeatedly voiced its support for the Saudi government's attempts to tackle terrorism, despite allegations from the press and Congress that the 'money trail' from Al-Qaeda leads to Riyadh.

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