A year has passed since the inhuman terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. During that time, Saudi Arabia has worked diligently – both independently and in cooperation with the United States, the United Nations, and other countries and international agencies – to fight terrorism, an evil phenomenon that has been directed not only against the United States, but also against Saudi Arabia and other peace-loving nations. Having itself been a victim of terrorist attacks, the Kingdom is fundamentally opposed to terrorism, which contravenes all religious teachings, human civilized concepts and our cultural values. We have, therefore, been engaged in a long struggle to combat this phenomenon and punish its perpetrators.
In the aftermath of the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001, the Kingdom’s struggle was intensified. These attacks were immediately condemned by the Saudi leadership, by Islamic scholars in the Kingdom and by the people of Saudi Arabia. Since then, Saudi Arabia has used every opportunity and forum to repeatedly and unequivocally condemn terrorism and declare the Kingdom’s full support for, and active cooperation in, the international coalition to combat it.
Over the past year we have taken concrete steps to fight this evil phenomenon. The Kingdom joined the United States and the other industrialized nations of the G-20 to develop an aggressive plan of action to identify and freeze terrorist assets worldwide. Saudi Arabia also ratified the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, the country’s central bank, introduced broad measures to prevent any possible flow of funds to terrorist organization. In June of this year, the Kingdom arrested a number of terrorists and continued its campaign with Interpol, the International police agency, to arrest fugitives suspected of involvement in terrorist activities. Also, as President George W. Bush and senior U.S. officials have stated, we continue to work closely with the U. S. government and its agencies in the ongoing effort to fight and destroy international terrorism.
The sense of outrage we feel is as fresh today as it was immediately after September 11. These attacks were particularly appalling to the government and people of Saudi Arabia because some of the perpetrators were misguided Saudi individuals and also because they sought to use Islam to justify their crimes. As the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the Chairman of the Senior Ulema (Islamic scholars) Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh noted after the attacks, Islam is a religion of peace the rejects the Killing of innocent people as a barbaric act that is pernicious, shameless and evil.
These attacks were also abhorrent to us because of the special empathy we have for the American people, in general, and the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks and their families, in particular. The terrorist attacks have tested, but fortunately have been unable to undermine, the special relationship that has existed between the governments and peoples of Saudi Arabia and the United States for almost seven decades. The depth of this special relationship is reflected in the recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz: “We have been close friends for so long … and I don’t see any reason why there should be a change.” As this statement illustrates, the Saudi and U.S. leaderships have over the past year reiterated their commitment to preserving the building upon this special relationship.
As we reflect on the events of the past year and look to the future, we continue to draw strength from our adherence to the divine teachings of Islam, which foster the values of tolerance and peace, and standing shoulder to shoulder with the international community, we will ultimately prevail in the campaign to root out terrorism and put an end to the suffering it causes.
Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States
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