US recognises Saudi efforts

19 October 2001

Washington has acknowledged Saudi Arabia's contribution to the campaign against those responsible for the 11 September attacks, as officials have sought to play down American media reports of differences between the two sides.

'The Saudis in general have provided a good deal of co-operation across the range of issues, whether it is overflights or other things,' assistant secretary of state William Burns told a House of Representatives committee on 17 October. 'They are beginning to make an effort with regard to financial assets,' he added. 'Is there more that needs to be done and that we will continue to work on, with not just the Saudis but others? Yes, of course.'

The statement came amid a spate of articles in the US press criticising Saudi Arabia's response to the terrorism crisis. One of the harshest was a 14 October editorial in the New York Times, warning of the dangers of a serious rift between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel-Aziz on 17 October made clear the kingdom's determination to root out supporters of the Al-Qaeda organisation, accused of responsibility for the 11 September attacks. In a televised address to security officers, Prince Nayef issued a thinly-veiled threat against anyone attempting to undermine the kingdom's stability. 'Be vigilant and reject those who try to impair security in the name of Islam,' he said. 'Unfortunately we find in our homeland those who sympathise with them. We tell the naïve and the misled: regain your senses or submit and let responsibilities be shouldered by those fit to do so.'

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