2006 Speech
 

02/28/2006
Prince Turki remarks to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce
Remarks by His Royal Highness Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States before the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, February 28, 2006
  Prince Turki addresses the Georgia Chamber of Commerce

GEORGE ISRAEL:  If I could have everybody’s attention we’ll go ahead and get started in the interest of time and especially to leave time for question and answers.  But I want to – on behalf of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce I want to welcome each one of you here today.  We all want a special welcome to His Royal Highness for joining us, and as he goes throughout the United States trying to reach out to – choosing Atlanta to come here.  I also want to welcome the leadership of Georgia and the fact that you’re being here is a commitment to Georgia’s involvement in building international relations.


Now I want to introduce a special guest and friend and host who is also going to be introducing our special guest.  All of you know him, and that’s Wyche Fowler.  We were talking last night – I first met Wyche at a GMA convention and met this tall, tanned, skinny, handsome guy with a ’78 Cutlass convertible – met him in the parking lot – because he was on the city council.  He later became the president of the Atlanta City Council, then a congressman, then a U.S. senator, and then ambassador to Saudi Arabia.  Please join me in welcoming a friend to international relations, Wyche Fowler.

(Applause.)

WYCHE FOWLER:  Thank you, Mayor Israel, for that extraordinarily fine introduction, which I wrote.  (Laughter.)  On the back of your program, as I’m sure you’ve seen, is a brief catalogue of the extraordinary and accomplished life to date of our guest, so I will not go through those particulars.  Sixty years ago, in 1945 – maybe 61 – the grandfather of our guest, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the founder and unifier of what is now the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia met on the USS Quincy with our president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  It was the first time that King Abdul Aziz had ever left the shores of his country, and history records that there was a two-day wait while all of his constituents, the gathering tribes, were calmed, thinking that he was leaving to abdicate.  And Roosevelt, in his political acumen, said, we will wait on the king of Saudi Arabia. 

They had a four-hour discussion.  This was only two months before Roosevelt died.  They had about a four-hour discussion.  It went well, as history records, and at the end, President Roosevelt said to the king, do you have any other questions?  King Abdulaziz said, I have only two.  In your country do you have colonies?  Roosevelt said, no, we never have and we never will.  He said, do you and your people believe in God?  He said, we do, and we always will.  And with that, the right hand of friendship was extended between the two men.

That relationship that began in 1945, that extraordinary bilateral relationship quickly moved from a government-to-government relationship to commercial ties to economic ties to energy ties, and to the ties of friendship.  Up until very recently there were as many as 30,000 young Saudis studying in the United States, having chosen to study in our country.  And over the last 40 years, thousands and thousands and thousands have chosen to study.  They came, they saw what they liked, they learned about our institutions, they made friends.  Those friendships became joint ventures and business partnerships. And here at the Georgia Chamber I want to say that as we speak there are over 30,000 American men and women working in Saudi Arabia, many of whom are there – I gave away 30-year pins, 35-year, 40-year pins of the successful relationship that, yes, has been strained since 9/11 but is now on the rebound, both by the initiative of the president of these United States, but also because of the initiatives of King Abdullah and men such as our guest today.

I want to just emphasize the last part of his introduction on your program.  Prince Turki is one of the founders of the King Faisal Institute.  He is one of those men from Saudi Arabia who have been the most outspoken on the need for dialogue across religious lines, promoting understanding between our cultures and between our religions, without which that foundation will continue – will not be able to flourish.  He is a friend of the United States.  We are extraordinarily fortunate that his government has chosen him to be their representative in our country.

Please welcome His Royal Highness, Prince Turki Al-Faisal.

(Applause.)

PRINCE TURKI:  Thank you very much, Ambassador.  It’s always a pleasure.

MR. FOWLER:  I meant every word of it.

PRINCE TURKI:  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.

MR. FOWLER:  Excuse me.

PRINCE TURKI:  Yes, sir?

MR. FOWLER:  I think we have a presentation from the city before your remarks.

PRINCE TURKI:  (Inaudible.)

MR. FOWLER:  Let me get out of the way.

KWANZA HALL:  On behalf of the city of Atlanta, I'm Kwanza Hall, District 2 representative for the city council and the mayor of the city.  I’d like to welcome you to Atlanta and congratulate you on your new appointment, and also to acknowledge that Atlanta is the first city to receive His Royal Highness, Prince Turki Al-Faisal.  Thank you very much and congratulations.

PRINCE TURKI:  Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Mr. Mayor.  Thank you.  This is quite a privilege, not just on receiving the award but also on seeing so many of you come and join in this lunch.  I’m really moved by this.  And my friend Wyche Fowler did not tell you that as well as being ambassador to Saudi Arabia, he is probably the last person who went exploring in the desert of Saudi Arabia on a camel.  (Laughter.)  And he caused quite a stir because when he was out in the desert without telephone, without any means of communication, then Crown Prince Abdullah, now King Abdullah, was looking for him and nobody knew where he was – not his embassy, not his CIA station chief.  Nobody knew where he was.  But after a couple of days of searching they found him and then – I won’t say how they brought him back – (laughter) – but they brought him back in quite a hurry.

And, really, this is a privilege and I am very pleased to be here to talk to you today.  First of all, let me thank Mr. Israel and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce for inviting me here.  And I understand that the big news here is that Atlanta is in the final round for becoming the home of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  (Laughter.)  Now, I can understand the appeal of fast cars in this city, given the amount of traffic that you have.  (Laughter.)  I want to be sure, though, to provide you with enough time for questions, so I’ll keep my remarks short.

Saudi Arabia and the United States have a long history of cooperation together.  Certainly we’ve gone through ups and downs.  We’ve gone through difficult periods and easy periods, and I think it will continue to be this way.  But this is the nature of any relationship, whether between friends or between countries.  Ultimately we always return to seeing the real reason why we stick it out with one another, and quite simply, we work well together.

For more than 60 years we’ve had a mutually beneficial relationship, and I can say – and I think proudly say – that it is a relationship not just of oil for security but, more broadly speaking, a relationship of people to people.  I for one first came to the United States when I was 14 years old to attend high school here.  After that I attended college.  And I visited Atlanta before at the invitation of Saudi Air Force personnel who were being trained at Lockheed on the C-130 aircraft.  The year was 1965.  You didn’t have much of a traffic problem then.  (Laughter.)  But Atlanta has certainly grown since then and I have had a great deal of exposure to the U.S. and the American way of life.  And this is not unique to me.  As Ambassador Fowler mentioned, literally hundreds of thousands of Saudis have traveled to the United States seeking education or healthcare, to conduct business or simply to visit. 

The friendships and partnerships that have formed since well before our governments had official relations are lasting because, at the bottom of it, Saudis and Americans are very similar to each other.  We’re plainspoken and straightforward and we both believe in the importance of faith and family.  We want the same things for us and for our children that you do: security, opportunity, good health and education, and a bright future.  We know that this can be a challenging proposition, so in Saudi Arabia we have been diligently working for years now to modernize and to confront head-on the problems that exist within our society. 

If you look at the Kingdom today, it is a country that is moving forward at great speed economically and socially, and even politically despite what some might say.  We have over $650 billion worth of investment opportunities in the Kingdom over the next 15 years, and American business should take advantage of that.  In December we officially joined the World Trade Organization.  This is providing us with great opportunities to increase foreign investment and diversify our economy so it will be not so reliant on oil.  We have undertaken a strategic multi-year program to improve the level of education in the Kingdom to be competitive internationally, and this program is emphasizing critical thinking and math and science, which are important to success in the global economy.

Our municipal councils have now all officially formed and have begun to meet.  Members of these councils were elected to office last spring.  This is an important step as the Saudi people learn how the electoral process works, and we will continue to expand citizen participation.

These developments, which are only a few of many, are not just for the Saudi people.  We live in a global community, so if we are to benefit ourselves, we are benefiting those in the world with whom we interact.  And we interact with the U.S. in particular a great deal.  This is why it is so important that we continue to redefine our relationship as it evolves, which is what we have been doing all along.  As ambassador to your great country, I am privileged to contribute to developing this relationship. 

As I was preparing to leave for my new assignment, I asked King Abdullah, Your Majesty, how should I deal with President Bush and the American people?  He turned to me without batting an eye and he said, just be frank with them – (audio break, tape change) -- with your secretary of State with a couple of my credentials last September.  I told her the story of Winston Churchill being a guest at the White House during the war years when President Roosevelt wanted to honor him by putting him up in the White House instead of Blair House. 

One night Mr. Roosevelt wheeled into Mr. Churchill’s room and found him stark naked.  (Laughter.)  Embarrassed, he tried to wheel back out but Churchill turned to him and he said, “Mr. President, the prime minister of England has nothing to hide from the president of the United States.”  (Laughter.)  And I did assure the secretary of State that I was not going to come to her naked – (laughter) – on any occasion, but that that is the kind of relationship Saudi Arabia would like to have with the United States.

And so with those remarks I would be happy to take any questions, thank you.  (Applause.)

MARTHA ZOLLER:  I think we’re just going to sit down.  I’m Martha Zoller.  I’m a talk show host as well as a member of the Georgia Gang on Fox 5 Atlanta.  I work for WDUN in Gainesville, Georgia.  And we are going to be doing a few prepared questions, a little bit of discussions between the Ambassador and I, and then there are cards on the table where you all can put your questions and then those questions will be brought up and then we will ask those questions also.

As I have been told by the keeper to the time, we have got about 15 minutes of discussion between Prince Turki and I and then we will be taking questions from the audience.

Mr. Ambassador, first of all thank you so much for being here because –

PRINCE TURKI:  A pleasure.

MS. ZOLLER:  Because I like you believe that with all of the ways to reach people, this direct reaching out to people is what is going to do the rest for all of our people, so thank you so much for being here.

PRINCE TURKI:  Thank you.

MS. ZOLLER:  Over the past few weeks obviously there has been a lot of violence over the Danish cartoons, over other issues.  I fear that there is a widening gap between the understanding of people in America, of the Muslim faith, and of people in this country.  What do Americans need to know about – from your perspective from both sides about what we need to know about each other.

PRINCE TURKI:  Well, first of all, let me say that in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as in the United States, there are images and stereotypes that we have of each other.  The first thing we have to do is break down these stereotypes and the only way we can do that is by people-to-people exchange, hence the program for bringing Saudis to America over the last six years, 50 years since the meeting between King Abdul Aziz and President Roosevelt.

Now, on the cartoon issue, I think there is a basic misunderstanding that has arisen as a result of that issue.  In some quarters in the West, particularly in Europe and more particularly in Denmark, it was initially treated as an issue of freedom of speech.  And we all know what freedom of speech means particularly in Western thinking.  It has gone through a history and a background, and, if you like, a lot of baggage to be where it is today.

Hence there is not only an analytical outlook on what freedom of speech is, but there is also a lot of feeling and passion behind it.  Many people in your countries over the years have gone through a great deal of trouble to be able to achieve the kind of level of free speech that you have achieved.  And frankly speaking, particularly in the United States, you have set standards for others to emulate and to imitate.

From our side, the Muslim side of the situation, the issue is treated as an insult and as an assault on revered and a much-beloved prophet, very much like your prophets Jesus, Moses, Abraham, you name it.  And I as a Muslim simply cannot see how a depiction of such revered and a loved individual within our community of Muslims as the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to become simply an issue of free speech.

If the depictions were of political leaders in today’s Arab and Muslim world, King Abdullah or President Mubarak, or Colonel Qaddafi or President Musharraf of Pakistan in those caricatures that were published in the press, I can understand then that it would be an issue of free speech.  But to choose the Prophet Muhammad himself as a target of that kind of characterization, to us appears to be, as I said, a matter of intentional insult and assault on our most revered and most beloved prophet.

It would be simply like making a picture of Abraham or Moses or Jesus in a kind of situation where Jesus, let’s say, would be portrayed as carrying a swastika or calling for the annihilation of the Jews or something like that.  And it is in that context that the passions in our part of the world came about.

Now, I think on both sides, extremists have taken advantage of that.  We have seen the reprinting of these cartoons in Western media in other countries as if to say we’re not going to just simply leave it at one insult; we are going to give it even more insult and insult to injury.  On the Muslim side, there have been also the extremists who have fanned the passions of the masses, if you like, in demonstrations in various cities and so on.

In Saudi Arabia, particularly, our people are not inclined to such passionate demonstration of feeling, and they have pretty much expressed their opposition and their outlook on this matter by letters to the Danish ambassador or by groups who met with him and told him how offensive these pictures are.  And the Kingdom has worked very closely within the Organization of the Islamic Conference and with the European Union, and now with the Danish government to try to overcome this issue.

Inasmuch as it is wrong to depict the Prophet in such an abhorrent view by these people who drew him in that way, it is equally as wrong for us as Muslims to treat the matter with violence.  The Prophet himself, peace be upon him, whoever read his history, when he was preaching, he used to be stoned in the street, or he used to be drenched with awful and with all sorts of horrible things.  He used to be insulted in person and beaten, and so on, and he always treated those who dealt with that way with forgiveness, and that should have been the hallmark of how we react, not the violence that has taken place.

MS. ZOLLER:  We of course saw the city mosque in Iraq be bombed last week and then of course there was an unsuccessful attempt to attack in Saudi Arabia, your oil facilities.  How did those things, if at all, change the way you all are looking at terrorism, and are you changing the way that you are looking and dealing with terrorism, and are you changing the way that you’re looking and dealing with terrorism within your own country?

PRINCE TURKI:  The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a victim of terrorism since the 1960s.  In those days it was the extreme leftist organizations like the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] in Palestine or other such groups that inflicted terrorism on Saudi Arabia, by hijacking embassies, by taking hostages and things like that.  In the ’90s, the Kingdom was the first target of a terrorist attack by al Qaeda.  This was in 1995.  At that time it was against a training facility of the National Guard in Riyadh.  I think 11 workers who worked as trainers were killed in that – you were there – (inaudible).

The first one I’m talking – 1995.  This was before you then.  And then of course the Al-Khobar bombing in the Eastern Province.  So we have been victims of terrorism for all of those years, and as I said, the first victims of the al Qaeda attack.  And I must tell you that the 9/11 attack on the United States, inasmuch as it killed so many innocent people of many nationalities and many religions in those Twin Towers and in the planes, and in the Pentagon, the memory of those victims among their families and their friends will be always an honored memory and a memory of affection of them because they were victims of those horrible attacks.

For us in Saudi Arabia, the memory of 9/11 will always be that 15 of our citizens were the mass murderers. So the burden and the scar, if you like, of that criminal act will be on our shoulders for ever, 200 years from now, 500 years from now, when people look upon that murderous act.  Inasmuch as they will remember the 3,000 who were killed innocently and so on, but they will also remember the 15 perpetrators who were of Saudi origin.

Now, our people have taken this to heart, and have gone through a period of introspection and reevaluation of our basic tenets and our basic beliefs as to how 15 of our youngsters could turn out to be such callous and vicious killers of innocence.  And this process of introspection and reevaluation has led to all sorts of developments in our educational system, in the way that we teach our religion, in the way that we deal with others, whether they be of the book by Christians and Jews, or people who don’t believe in the book.

And in 2003, the late King Fahd presented a reform plan to our Majlis al-Shura, which is equivalent to your Congress.  That reform plan was made up of six points.  The first point was to stress that Saudi Arabia’s practice of Islam, is the practice of Islam as taught by the prophet himself.  When the Prophet was asked when he was preaching, define yourself for us, who are you Muslims?  He said we are a people of the middle.  And an explanation of that:  We are not zealous on one side, nor are we lax on the other.    And that has always been the consistent practice in the Kingdom since it was founded.

So how did these 15 people come about to be such murderers and so on?  They followed what basically is a cult devised and developed by Mr. bin Laden and his supporters like Ayman al Zawahiri and whoever went to their orbit.  And this cult like all cults – the first thing it does when it recruits somebody is that it severs his ties first with his family, then with his community, and third with his country and make the connection between the recruit and the leader of the cult almost not just filial, almost umbilic in the sense of how they deal with each other.

And that is where not just the 15 but the hundreds of others al Qaeda members from all nationalities, including some from America and some from Europe and from Asia and so on, joined this cult.  And we in Saudi Arabia, in our view were equally targeted by September 11th as the United States was in trying to drive a wedge between not just our governments but between our people so that in your memory there will always be the issue that 15 of those killers were Saudis.

And my presentation, when I speak to my American friends here, is always to remind them that that is exactly what bin Laden to come between us, and that we should work in order not to let him succeed in that objective by having the kind of contact that we are having today.

Q:  Mr. Ambassador, how does the Kingdom see its role with oil and then the growth of oil around the world, not just in the United States but China, India – very large markets that are being developed?

PRINCE TURKI:  The Kingdom has always had a very consistent policy in its oil production and refining.  First of all, we would like to produce as much oil as the market demands, and we have been fortunate to have the kind of reserves underground, but also more importantly the kind of vision to be able to invest in bringing out that oil from underground so that it will be available on the market for the needs of people.

You mentioned the growth of consumption in China and India and in other places.  Their consumption rates of oil from our part of the world far exceed your consumption of oil from our part of the world.  The Middle East exports to the United States only 15 percent of its consumption of oil, whereas China and India and Japan and Korea and other countries in the rest of the world import a lot more of our oil not just from Saudi Arabia but from other countries in the area – (audio break, tape change) -- Prince met with your president in April in Crawford, Texas and they agreed on a joint energy policy, which would deal with the issue from this aspect that there will be an increased production rate from Saudi Arabia, that Saudi Arabia and the United States would work together to increase refining capacity because the bottleneck in oil supply today is in refining, not in supply, and thirdly, that there will be joint research in making oil and other fossil fuels more friendly to the ecology.  And we’re working with that proposition and hopefully we can go forward from there.

MS. ZOLLER:  This is a question from the audience.  There’s been increased violence between Shia and Sunni in Iraq.  What is the potential for that violence to spread across Iraq’s borders to other countries and can these two sects co-exist?

PRINCE TURKI:  Well, I hope that there will be no extension of that violence across the borders.  The Shia/Sunni sect is a historical division.  It goes back nearly 1,000 years in Islamic history.  At times, it becomes bloody like it is now.  Other times, they find a means of coexistence; and hence, the need to be open and engaged and inclusive rather than exclusive. 

King Abdullah proposed last October to the Arab League that there be a meeting of the Iraqi political leadership of all factions to look at this issue and to try to form a unified position on what the future of Iraq is going to be.  Fortunately, there was a positive response from all of the political factions and they met in November in Cairo for the first time since the downfall of Saddam Hussein.  And in that meeting, they reached an understanding of how to move forward.  Since then, one of the things that they agreed upon is that they would all participate in the political process in Iraq. 

And hence, when the elections were held for the parliament last December, all factions including the Sunnis, which had kept themselves out before, participated fully in the elections.  And one of the positive elements in those elections that was not much reported in your press was that in so-called Sunni cities like Mosul and Tikrit and other, Fallujah, and other cities, those protecting the polling booths that allowed the Sunnis to go and vote were not the local police, which were mostly made up in any case of Shia or Kurdish elements, but it was the resistance, the Iraqi resistance.  They protected these polling booths from the foreign jihadis who wanted to disrupt the elections.  And there has been a growing rift between the Iraqi resistance as it were and the followers of Musab al-Zarqawi.  And that is what we hope will continue.

Now, just a couple of days ago, again, the Iraqi political leadership from all sects and ethnic divisions came together and decided that there will be an end to the violence that had taken place after the unforgivable and very objectionable destruction of the Shia mosque in Samarra.  And they agreed, these political leaders, that they would form a national unity government.  Perhaps there is a silver lining there that the tragedy of what happened in those three or four days of killing and counter-killing and so on has made people realize that things can get out of hand, that they have gotten out of hand actually.  And the prospect of civil war became very, very big in their minds so they have decided to come together and form a national unity government.  We in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, of course, will not only promote that and support it, but work very hard to achieve it.

MS. ZOLLER:  We want to remind folks that you can fill out the response forms that are on your tables, as well as submit questions to be asked, so we hope that you will take the time to do that.  I know that I’ve read a number of your interviews, and I’m not going to ask you to comment about Iran’s current situation, but I do think it’s important for these folks to hear what the Kingdom’s position is on nuclear proliferation and what they see as the Middle East zone and how that should go forward in the Middle East.

PRINCE TURKI:  As far as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is concerned, the Middle East should be free of any weapon of mass destruction, not just nuclear, but biological and chemical and whatever weapons might be considered.  And we have been working on that for many years.  We think that there should be a level playing field in that issue.  No country should be an exception, including Israel, which already has by all accounts more than 100 nuclear weapons in its arsenal.  So once that is done, we believe that issues affecting that situation will be resolved by talk rather than by threat.

MS. ZOLLER:  As chairman of the King Faisal Center, this is from the audience, what are your goals in promoting closer academic relationships between the United States and Saudi universities?

PRINCE TURKI:  The King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies is one of the establishments that came about as the result of the creation of the King Faisal Foundation, which was built after the death of the late King Faisal by his children.  The late king -- before he died he gave an interview to American television in which he was asked how did he look to the future of Saudi Arabia?  And his answer was that he hoped in the future that Saudi Arabia will be wellspring of understanding and culture and knowledge, not just for the Arab and Muslim world, but for humanity.  And that has been the motto, if you like, of the foundation and the King Faisal Center.  The Center today hosts something like 20 non-Saudi fellows from all over the world, including the United States.  One of your previous ambassadors, Ambassador Jordan, when he was serving as ambassador in the Kingdom, his wife was one of those fellows at the time.  And other nationalities have been invited to participate in furthering their research and so on in the center. 

We have established with the Council on Foreign Relations in the United States, along with British, European, and other Arab research centers what has been called the Arab Reform Initiative, which is a grouping of these research centers that will deal with Arab reform and studies from each country in this effort.  And just last week, I received at the center former Ambassador Djerejian from the United States who is now directing the Baker Institute to try to organize cooperation with the Baker Institute.  And I am sure we will continue to promote such interaction and dialogue with American and other research centers, because as I said earlier, the late King’s belief that Saudi Arabia can be the wellspring of understanding and education and culture for humanity is what we aspire to be.

MS. ZOLLER:  Thank you.  I’m getting mixed.  One saying no more time; you’re saying two more questions, so are you in charge?  (Laughter.)  Okay, no, I’ll ask two more questions.  What does Saudi Arabia do now and what are their plans for the future to protect individual liberties, whether male, female, Muslim, Christian, what are the areas you are working on in the area of civil liberties?

PRINCE TURKI:  Well, let me just start by saying that we have in our faith, our Islam, basic principles that deal with these issues, whether it is human rights, rights of individuals, property rights, issues of rights of women, children, et cetera, pretty much drawn out in not just verses from the Qur'an, but also sayings of the Prophet.  The problem with us Muslims -- and I am one of those will admit this freely -- is that we have not lived up to these principles.  Many of them over the years either have been totally ignored or simply forgotten in the practice of day-to-day life.  And so, the Kingdom has reinvigorated its outlook on trying to achieve these higher ideals, not just as principles to be guided by, but also as beliefs that should be put in practice.  In other words, put our mouths where our – whatever it is, the expression –

MS. ZOLLER:  Put money where our mouths are.

PRINCE TURKI:  Money where your mouth is.  And that’s what we are trying to do.  Now, the basic law that was passed in 1993 by the Kingdom defines the rights and the obligations of each side, the government on one side and the individual on the other side.  And it has been published.  And those of you who want to look at it, I don’t know, I think we have it on our embassy website.  They can look at that basic law.  And they will see where we are aspiring to go.  But we have much to learn from your country.  I remember reading in my studies here about how your constitution was written and the great debate that went between your founding fathers on whether to have a bill of rights or not.  And finally, somebody, I think very bravely, accepted that there should be a bill of rights that defines the various freedoms that you enjoy now.  But in the practice of those freedoms, it took you a long time to reach the level of practice and tolerance and application that you have reached now.  We are going through the same process in the kingdom.

MS. ZOLLER:  Absolutely.  Mr. Ambassador, I want to thank you so much for your time today.  (Applause.)  You mentioned last night that you flew over beautiful green areas in Georgia.  This is from the city of Gainesville and – (inaudible) – here, some of the most beautiful green areas.

PRINCE TURKI:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

MR. ISRAEL:   Thank you so much, your royal highness.  I would like to ask everyone to please stay seated until his Royal Highness exits, and that we’ve got some few instructions and lunch.  I also would like to do a public thank you.

MR. FOWLER:  Well, I just want the word to go forth to his majesty, King Abdullah, that his new ambassador kept the faith and kept his charge to be frank and lucid.  And I’m sure that Georgetown University is extremely proud of its very distinguished graduate.  Your Royal Highness, thank you very much for being in Atlanta.

PRINCE TURKI AL-FAISAL: Can I say something?

MR. FOWLER:  You certainly may.

PRINCE TURKI:  It’s not that I want to speak some more, but having spent 30 years in intelligence business without speaking to anybody, you can imagine the kind of relief I have in talking to you all.  But, last night at dinner, I remember asking the guests there if they feel something about Saudi Arabia that they should please get in touch with their Congressman.  So please, if you have any opinions about Saudi Arabia, make them known what those opinions are, because we really need a lot of help with your legislature.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

MR. ISRAEL:  As His Royal Highness exits, I’d like to ask each of you.  You have a response form on your table and pens.  His staff and His Royal Highness is very interested.  He wants to read this himself.  Please fill these out and turn them in as you leave because what they want to do is try to establish firmer relations with y’all, each of you in the room; you represent the leadership of Georgia. 

I do want to again thank everyone.  I want a special thanks to Wyche Fowler, our friend and former ambassador.  I appreciate your working for international trade and international peace and continuing to do that.  And I want to again thank each one of you for being here, and again please fill these out and they’ll take them up at the door.  Thank you.

(Applause.)

(END)

 

 

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