S.Arabia demanded U.S. action on mideast-ex-spy head

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Posted at 6:36 p.m. PST Thursday, November 8, 2001

S.Arabia demanded U.S. action on mideast-ex-spy head

DUBAI (Reuters) - A former Saudi intelligence chief has said the oil-rich kingdom threatened to review ties with its key ally, the United States, unless Washington took active steps to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prince Turki al-Faisal said in a television interview aired late on Thursday that President Bush had shown readiness to discuss with Saudi Arabia plans to revive Middle East peacemaking after Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah sent him a letter demanding action to resolve the conflict.

But the planned talks were put aside because of the September 11 attacks on U.S. landmarks in Washington and New York, he said.

``Crown Prince Abdullah sent a letter to President Bush before September 11 explaining that relations between the two countries were at a crossroads,'' Prince Turki, who stepped down in August after nearly 25 years in office, told the London-based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC).

``He also said that the kingdom would be forced to review its ties with the United States if the U.S. was not ready to move ahead in finding a successful solution for the Middle East conflict.''

``After this strongly worded letter, which is considered unique in Arab-American contacts, President Bush expressed willingness to discuss with the kingdom making arrangements to ensure an equitable and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian question,'' he added.

Bush has said a Palestinian state is part of his administration's vision for the Middle East but has not made any proposals on subjects of dispute between Israel and the Palestinians such as the size of that state, the future of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian cabinet member Nabil Amr, speaking by telephone on the show, confirmed Prince Turki's remarks and said the Palestinian Authority was aware of the Saudi moves.

Prince Abdullah, who has been running the day-to-day affairs of the world's largest oil exporter since his half-brother King Fahd suffered a stroke in 1995, has been an outspoken supporter of the Palestinians, who are waging an uprising to end Israeli occupation.

The revolt, which erupted in September 2000 after Israeli-Palestinian peace talks became deadlocked, has claimed the lives of at least 700 Palestinians and 186 Israelis.

Prince Abdullah had repeatedly criticized the United States for what many Arabs say is its blind support for Israel during the revolt.

-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), November 08, 2001


Bin Laden et al run a protection racket in most mid eastern states. They are paid off to keep the peace. Obviously cash payoffs are no longer enough in Saudi. The payoffs must now be effecting foreign policy.

-- Mark Blaine (ytokca@yahoo.com), November 08, 2001.

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