1999 News Story

Interior Minister interviewed by Kuwaiti newspaper

In an interview published in Kuwait today by Al-Siyasah, Interior Minister Prince Nayef Bin Abdul Aziz reiterated the Kingdom's concern to settle its border problem with Yemen, adding that negotiations on this are almost complete. Answering a question on the issue of Yemeni workers in Saudi Arabia, he stated that every country has the right to regulate foreign manpower, and that the decision to do so with Yemeni nationals predated the unfortunate events of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In a related issue, Prince Nayef praised the success of the national campaign against illegal immigrants, and said that around one million people who had stayed beyond their legal limit had been deported.

On the issue of Hani Al-Sayegh, the Saudi dissident accused of being involved in the bombing at Al-Khobar Towers, Prince Nayef said the Kingdom fully appreciates the cooperation of the United States in deporting him, adding that a number of the other suspects are still overseas.  He hoped that investigation of Al-Sayegh would lead to new evidence, but made it clear that the issue was a Saudi concern, saying: "It is true that those who were harmed by the incident were non-Saudis, but they were residing on Saudi territory, and so we are determined that investigations on the issue should be Saudi investigations." The Americans, he said, understand this. He added that the Kingdom never accuses anybody without having adequate evidence.
To a question on allegations of violation of human rights in the Kingdom, Prince Nayef stated that Saudi Arabia implements Islamic shariah [Law], which respects human rights. He went on to emphasize that the Islamic rules apply to everyone, and there is no difference between a prince and any other citizen. Asked about rumors of disputes among the members of the Saudi royal family, Prince Nayef stated that these do not exist, declaring that the succession to the throne has always taken place smoothly.
On the issue of Osama Bin Laden, Prince Nayef stated that he is not a Saudi, since his Saudi nationality was withdrawn from him. He criticized those who try to exaggerate the issue of Bin Laden, who is no longer a source of concern to the Kingdom, and whose file has been closed.
On the issue of allowing women to drive, Prince Nayef said the trends of Saudi society cannot be ignored, and these are still against the idea. He pointed out that this issue is not as important as that of education for women, which, when it was first proposed, faced strong opposition from certain quarters.