New GAO report commends Saudi Arabia's efforts to fight terrorism and terror financing
In a report released on September 29, 2009, the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its ongoing efforts to fight domestic and regional terrorism, along with its implementation of strict regulations to prevent funds from reaching terrorist organizations and its programs to combat the spread of extremist ideologies.
"The GAO's report is an affirmation of Saudi Arabia's commitment to combating terrorism and terror financing throughout the globe," said Saudi Ambassador to the United States Adel A. Al-Jubeir.
In the report's cover letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and Ranking Member, Rep. Howard Berman and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the GAO restates the central partnership the U.S. has with the Kingdom on counterterrorism, adding that Saudi Arabia is also essential to "achieving security in Iraq, advancing the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and ensuring stability in world oil markets."
The GAO enumerates several areas in which Saudi Arabia has succeeded over the past eight years, detailing multiple initiatives, including the Kingdom's public awareness program, its extremist rehabilitation program and the repeated public condemnations of terrorism by senior government and religious officials, including Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti.
According to the GAO, the office conducted its analysis because ". . .the U.S. government considers the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a vital partner in combating terrorism." On the terror financing efforts, the report said: "U.S. and Saudi officials also report progress on efforts to prevent financial support to extremists, citing, for example, the Saudi government's regulations on sending charitable contributions overseas, and the arrest and prosecution of individuals providing support to terrorism."
-- "With regard to preventing financial support to extremists, U.S. and Saudi officials also report progress, citing, among other examples, the Saudi government's implementation of cash courier regulations, ban on the transfer of charitable funds outside the Kingdom without government approval, and arrest and prosecution of individuals providing ideological or financial support to terrorism."