Riyadh said Tuesday that the seven oil workers arrested temporarily after straying into Saudi territory were in fact Yemeni nationals and not Westerners, as claimed by Sanaa.
"We deny having arrested any Westerner on the Saudi-Yemeni border," a Saudi interior ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the SPA news agency.
Saudi border guards apprehended on September 22 seven Yemenis working for a foreign oil company who had "illegally" entered Saudi territory in two cars, the ministry said.
The intruders, who "confessed to the illegality of their act and promised not to do it again", spent the night at a Saudi border post "before returning to Yemen on Saturday."
A Yemeni security official said Sunday that Saudi authorities had detained seven experts -- six Americans and one Australian -- when they were prospecting in bloc 51 in the Yemeni province of Hadramawt, which borders on Saudi Arabia.
He added that the Saudi authorities claim the area in question is territory that is disputed between the two countries.
On June 12, Riyadh and Sanaa reached a border agreement, putting an end to decades of disputes – RIYADH (AFP)
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