[Washington, DC] -- Good morning, everyone, and welcome to our embassy. I wanted to make a few comments to you and then take some questions.
This week, once again, our two countries are joined in tragedy and sorrow. We look forward soon, God willing, to the time when we will be joined in victory over criminals and murderers who have no regard whatsoever for the lives of the innocent or for the stability or security of societies. There should be no doubt in anybody's mind about our commitment to go after those murderers, those who support them and those who condone their actions.
I would like to express our thanks and appreciation to President Bush for his expressions of sympathy and condolence, as well as to other American leaders and, most importantly, to the American public. We have had an outpouring of sympathy. We have received telephone calls, e-mails and letters from the American people. We are not surprised, because these actions reflect the noble values that the American people live by. And I want to say thank you to the American public for being with us during our time of tragedy.
It is unfortunate, however, that there continue to be some people who are insensitive and callous, and who seek to blame us for the killing and the murder of our own children. When people say things like "They reap what they have sown" at a time of tragedy and mourning, it shows an insensitivity that is unbecoming of anybody with a sense of humanity. It also plays into the hands of Osama bin Laden and his murderous cult, whose objective is to distance America from the Arab and the Muslim world, and whose objective is to destroy the Saudi state and replace it with a Taliban-like society.
But we have no intention of allowing them to succeed.
We have no intention of slowing down our progress -- our development. We have no intention of slowing down our reform process and we have no intention of living in caves.
We will fight the organization with determination. We will fight them with vigor. We will do everything in our power to make sure that they do not inflict harm on the innocent. We will cooperate with other countries who have an interest in doing so. We have been very vigorous in our pursuit of the criminals. We have made arrests of over 600 people. We have tightened our financial system to ensure that terrorists don't take advantage of the charity of our citizens. We have broken up dozens of al-Qaeda cells in Saudi Arabia. We have destroyed weapons-making factories. We have captured incredible amounts of explosives. And we have been able to avoid harm coming to our citizens and residents.
The tragic events of last week show that the danger still persists. But our determination is there and we will continue moving forward along these lines.
I wanted to make clear to you what our policies are with regard to the war on terrorism, because a lot of things are being ascribed to us that are just not true.
To begin with, it is our policy to pursue the terrorists with vigor and without mercy, and those who support them and those who condone their actions. We have made the arrests. We have imprisoned people. We have broken up cells.
Secondly, it is our policy to ensure that nobody can take advantage of the charity or generosity of our citizens in order to put those funds to evil purposes. In that vein, we have regulated our charities, we have tightened our banking system, we have frozen bank accounts, we have stopped our charities from sending money outside of Saudi Arabia. We have even stopped the collection of cash contributions at our mosques -- this would be like America stopping the passing of the plate during Sunday service -- because we want to make sure that people do not take advantage of the generosity of our citizens.
Third, our policy is to combat extremism in all its forms, whether in our mosques or schools, or outside of Saudi Arabia. We do not fund the so-called radical madrassas that people accuse us of funding, because that goes against our policy. We built institutions and shelters for Afghan refugees 20 years ago with the United States, but we do not fund radical madrassas.
And finally, our policy is to cooperate as closely as we can with all friendly governments in order to confront the scourge of terrorism. Our security depends on it. This is a global effort against terrorism. No nation can fight this battle alone, whether it's America or Saudi Arabia. And this war will be won -- God willing -- when all countries cooperate as closely as they can in order to destroy this murderous organization and eliminate the scourge of terrorism.
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