2002 Transcript

Adel Al-Jubeir Foreign Policy Advisor to Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Lou Dobbs 'Moneyline', CNN

JAN HOPKINS, GUEST HOST:  Joining me now is Adel Al-Jubeir. He is foreign adviser -- foreign affairs adviser to the Saudi crown prince. Welcome to the program.


HOPKINS: First of all, your response to this lawsuit against the three Saudi princes, the Bin Laden Group, a number of Saudis. What's the government's response?

AL-JUBEIR: Well Jan, we haven't seen the lawsuit yet. I understand it's a 259-page document. I haven't read it. I haven't gone through it. I don't know what the basis of it is, so I really would not be in a good position to comment on it at this time.

HOPKINS: There are a number of members of Congress in this country that have criticized the Saudi government for not doing enough to counter terrorism. And they're concerned about possible funding of al Qaeda, the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. What's your response to that? Do you think that Saudi Arabia is doing enough to fight terrorism?

AL-JUBEIR: Oh, absolutely we are. Let me begin with the second part first. The fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on the plane were Saudis is something that is a source of great shame for us. But the purpose for having the 15 on the planes was an attempt by bin Laden to drive a wedge between us by giving this operation a Saudi face.

He has membership from over 50 countries in al Qaeda. He could have selected any nationality to be on those planes, including Americans, and he did not. He purposely chose Saudis in order to drive a wedge between our two countries, and he almost succeeded.

With regards to the Saudi Arabia's cooperation in the war on terrorism, we are committed to rooting out terrorism. We have been cooperating with the international community on every single issue. We have frozen bank accounts. We have identified evildoers. We have handed their names to the United Nations. We have interrogated thousands of people. We have under detention several hundred people in Saudi Arabia.

We have shared that information with the U.S. We have been able to work with other countries to extradite suspected members of al Qaeda, and we have shared that information, again, with the United States.

So I believe the charges that Saudi Arabia is not fully on board in this effort are really baseless.

HOPKINS: IN fact, Iran has turned over some al Qaeda detainees to Saudi Arabia for questioning just recently. What's the status of that, and what have you found out?

AL-JUBEIR: They were detained - they were handed over to Saudi Arabia and they are now currently being questioned by our authorities. We are sharing that information with the U.S. We don't have a complete picture yet. But once we know more, we will certainly share it with your government.

HOPKINS: Now, the Saudi Arabian government has said that the U.S. cannot use bases in Saudi Arabia to attack Iraq. What would be the conditions that would allow the U.S. to use Saudi bases for such an attack?

AL-JUBEIR: We have said, as has almost every country in the international community, that Saddam Hussein must be brought into compliance with U.N. resolutions. We have also said - we live right next to him, remember Jan, and we're the country most threatened by him - we have also said that there has to be a legal sanction. A case has to be made. We have not seen this case being made. And we have said that diplomacy seems to be working, let's give it a chance.

Has anybody thought through the consequences of war in terms of human suffering? In terms of financial cost? In terms of impact on the region? Has anybody ever thought through what the day after will look like? Is Iraq going to be dismembered? Who is going to take over?

This is not - we're not playing video games here. This is very serious.

Has anybody thought about the resources that have to be spread thin? You have one war in Afghanistan, you have another between war Israelis and Palestinians. The last thing the region needs is another war, in terms of Iraq. 

And so the point we make - which is the point that the Germans and the French and the British and the Australians and the Spanish and virtually every country in the world makes - is, let's think this through. Let's make the case, and let's see - and let's give diplomacy a chance. And if we can allow the inspectors back into Iraq, we will have achieved the objective without firing a single bullet.

And the irony of this is the inspectors on the ground have been able to do more damage to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program than all of the bombings combined.

Let's try it.

HOPKINS: Thanks very much, Adel Al-Jubeir.