Foreign Minister: Saudis Held in US over Terror Attacks
A number of Saudi citizens have been detained for questioning in the United States over last week's terror attacks, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in comments published Sunday.
"A number of Saudi citizens have been detained and interrogated" by US authorities over the deadly attacks in New York and Washington on Septmeber 11, Prince Saud told Okaz daily.
"We have been informed [by Washington] of the detention of some [Saudi] suspects. We are immediately informed whenever a Saudi citizen is detained for questioning, which is normal procedure," he said.
He said Riyadh's embassy in Washington has appointed lawyers to help citizens under investigation.
"We are following the legal matters very closely. They [the Americans] are aware of this and are abiding by the procedures of American law in connection with detention and interrogation.
"We only want them not to use oppressive procedures ... and we expect this. We have appointed lawyers for Saudis who may face any problem there," the foreign minister said.
The prince said that a number of Saudis living in the US have been a target of some harassment, but that the US administration had extended all help and cooperation.
Riyadh has not yet been informed of any Saudi casualty in the terrorist attacks, but the government was following the situation with US authorities, he said.
Prince Saud reiterated the kingdom's readiness to participate in the international fight against terrorism.
"This is not the duty of Saudi Arabia or America only.
"It is an international duty because terrorism targets all people. Our country is not isolated from being targeted by terrorism. Even if strikes in a Western country, there are Muslims and Arabs, and this what makes terrorism a real threat against Islam and Arabs," he said.
Saudi monarch King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah have expressed the kingdom's readiness to fight terrorism. Top Saudi clerics have condemned the attacks, saying Islam does not accept such action.
The prime suspect for the attacks, Osama bin Laden, was stripped of Saudi nationality in 1994 on accusations of financing terrorist training camps and funding local extremists -- RIYADH (AFP)
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