Saudi official: No decision yet on withdrawal of U.S. forces
Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister dismissed as speculative reports the kingdom has decided to ask American forces to leave once the campaign to disarm Iraq is finished, the Arabic Okaz newspaper said Tuesday.
However, Prince Khaled bin Sultan was quoted as saying that the presence of American, British, and French troops at Prince Sultan air base south of Riyadh was "for a specific reason" — to carry out U.N. resolutions regarding flights over southern Iraq.
Once the reason no longer exists, foreign forces will leave, he said.
The New York Times on Sunday quoted unidentified senior members of the Saudi royal family as saying that Saudi reform plans include asking U.S. troops to withdraw from the kingdom as soon as the campaign to disarm Iraq ends.
Asked by Okaz about this report, Prince Khaled denied U.S. troops in the kingdom are a contentious issue, saying that they came originally with U.N. resolutions for a specific task, "nothing more nothing less." (Albawaba.com)
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