Former Saudi Arabian intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, who has acknowledged meeting Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden several times before 1994, said Wednesday his country has never paid terrorists.
In an interview with CNN, Turki replied, "absolutely not" when asked if any member of the Saudi royal family had "ever given any money to terrorist groups, or funneled money to another organization that led to terrorist groups."
"I quote (United States) Secretary (of the Treasury Paul) O'Neill, who has said he is very happy with what Saudi Arabia is doing, that it is cooperating with the United States and that it is doing all it can to arrest these money trails and prevent them," he said.
Turki, who has been nominated as Riyadh’s ambassador to Britain, said the kingdom "has always stood by its principles of safeguarding innocent lives where-ever they are and whoever they are.
"We have definitely fought terrorists, have brought some of them to justice and executed them. We have suffered at the hands of terrorists and we have never paid anybody blood money."
Regarding the Iraqi issue, when asked if Saudi Arabia would provide logistical support in the event of military action against Baghdad, the former Intelligence head said it would.
"I'm not in a position to say whether this would be in the form of air bases or over-flights. But I would definitely urge my government and my people to extend their fullest support to any UN action vis-a-vis Iraq."
But, he said Saudi Arabia would "definitely not" support action by Washington alone because "the UN is the world body that oversees all these matters and has done so quite equitably in the past and hopefully in the future." (Albawaba.com)
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