A Saudi newspaper on Monday accused Russia of looking for a scapegoat for its "military failure" against Muslim fighters in Chechnya and denied Moscow's charges that Riyadh was blocking a political solution.
"These charges are totally false ... Russia is just trying to find excuses for its military failure," said Al-Nadwa.
"The (Saudi) kingdom is a peace-loving country which respects the sovereignty of other states and never interferes in their internal affairs," said the paper, which like the rest of the Saudi press reflects the official view.
It said Moscow was "accusing several countries of supporting the Chechen fighters so as to find excuses for not being able to complete its genocide" in the breakaway republic.
On Saturday, the Russian foreign ministry accused the kingdom of seeking to undermine Moscow's military campaign in Chechnya and prevent a political solution to the conflict.
The statement was an angry response to a Saudi declaration during an Islamic ministerial conference in Kuala Lumpur last week that dubbed Russia's military operation "an inhumane act against the Muslim people of Chechnya".
The foreign ministry said Moscow was "deeply perplexed" by the Saudi assertions, which were tantamount to "putting a stick in the wheel" of its battle against Chechen fighters.
"To call on Russia not to use force against terrorists, slave traders and drug traffickers is putting a stick in the wheel of finding a political solution," the ministry said - RIYADH (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)