Saudis welcome 9/11 report

UNFLINCHING STAND: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir speaks in Washington, DC, following the release of 28 pages of a 9/11 Congressional report, on Sunday.
Updated 18 July 2016
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Saudis welcome 9/11 report

RIYADH: On Sunday, all groups of Saudi society welcomed the release of 28 classified pages of the official report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States with the White House maintaining their stance that “there is no evidence of any Saudi role in the attack.”

The 28 page-document submitted to the Congressional Inquiry was at the center of attention for quite some time with the fact finding team confirming that the Kingdom had no link with the attacks.
In Washington, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir tweeted, “Saudi Arabia welcomes the release of the 28-page report about the 9/11 attacks, and the time has come to end these rumors and conspiracies.”
He continued: “The 28 pages were reviewed at the highest levels of US intelligence. The facts are clear: The Saudi government played no role in 9/11. Now that the declassification is complete, we hope to continue our close cooperation with the US in the fight against terrorism.”
“Since 9/11, the Kingdom has embarked on a series of major steps to confront the men, money and mindset that foments terrorism. We have put in place an unprecedented financial control system to stop the funding of extremist causes and terrorism.”
“We have put in place an unprecedented financial control system to stop the funding of extremist causes and terrorism. Terrorism has no religion, it has no nationality, it has no ethnicity, it has no humanity. It is incumbent upon all of us to do everything in our power to defeat terrorism.”
Welcoming the fact finding report, Salman Al-Ansari, founder and president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) told Arab News: “This finding was expected by the Saudi intellectual spectrum. We knew that we had no role and now we know officially that we have no guilt to worry about.”
“We have been the victims of terrorism before anything else; we have faced more than 30 terror attacks by Al-Qaeda, and Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism domestically and internationally,” he added.
“I know for a fact that these 28 classified pages are full of accusations, allegations and speculations, but none against Saudi Arabia have been made to link it with the 9/11 terror attack,” the SAPRAC head said, adding that these classified pages released Friday contained no evidence of any role played by the Kingdom in terror the plot.
“It has changed hypothetical views of many speculators who were making wild allegations that the Kingdom had a link with 9/11,” he pointed out, adding that it helped clear the air on all of the confusions created and will put a stop to all speculations by silencing those trying to “harm the harmony”. “Saudi Arabia and the US have been and will continue to be strong allies working closely to combat terrorism,” he underlined.
Hailing the report, Dr. Majed Abdullah Alhedayan, a senior columnist and legal consultant specialising in foreign investment, said that the report is reflective of the honesty applied in the investigation procedure. “These 28 pages were reviewed at the highest levels of the US intelligence and the facts have come out in public that the Kingdom played no role in 9/11. This finding will clear up, once and for all, any suspicion with regard to Saudi Arabia and will change the perception of many Americans about Saudi society.”
“It will also encourage the public and private sectors from both countries to move forward with better coordination. Now that the declassification is complete, we hope to continue our close cooperation with the US and many other western countries in various areas including visa problems formerly faced by Saudis.”
Talal Al-Otaibi, a media consultant in the Kingdom, said: “It only confirms what we have been saying for all these years.”
“Now US Congress and political analysts are calling for an end to all theories that accuse Saudi Arabia of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.”


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.