- The Washington Times - Monday, October 21, 2002

Saudis denounce report
Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan has denounced a new report on terrorist financing by the Council on Foreign Relations, saying it ignores steps Saudi Arabia has taken to stop the flow of money to Osama bin Laden.
A new council task-force report faults Saudi Arabia for turning a "blind eye" to Saudi citizens who have financed bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.
Prince Bandar said in a statement, "It is unfortunate that the task force prepared their report without input from the United States or Saudi governments. The task force was either unaware of or chose not to recognize the many actions we have taken."
He added that U.S. government officials "who are privy to current law enforcement efforts know and appreciate the close cooperation the United States and Saudi Arabia have in the war on terrorism."
The council report said Saudi Arabia "for years" has been the most important source of money for al Qaeda.
"And for years, Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem," the report said.
"This is hardly surprising," the report added, noting that bin Laden is a Saudi citizen and that a "disproportionate percentage" of al Qaeda terrorists are also Saudis. Fifteen of the 19 terrorists responsible for the September 11 attacks were Saudi citizens.
The report said Saudi Arabia has not implemented a 1999 measure to toughen its money-laundering laws.
Prince Bandar said his government has frozen dozens of bank accounts linked to suspected terrorists and audited "all charitable groups to ensure there are no links to suspect oganizations."
Al Qaeda has used charities in Saudi Arabia and other countries, including the United States, to launder money to finance its terrorist actions.

Diplomatic traffic
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah, who addresses stability and security in Afghanistan at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Tomorrow he addresses the Asia Society.
Michalis Chrysohoidis, Greece's minister of public order, who meets Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, CIA Director George J. Tenet, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, State Department counterterrorism coordinator Francis Taylor and other officials.
Shafeeq Ghabra, director of Kuwait University's Center for Strategic and Future Studies, who discusses democracy in the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute.
Frank Judd, the Chechnya rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who holds a news conference at 2 p.m. at the National Press Club.
Hanna Nasser, the mayor of Bethlehem, who addresses the American Committee on Jerusalem.
NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson, who addresses the Brookings Institution.
Ilham Aliyev, a member of the Azerbaijani parliament and first vice president of the state oil company. He addresses Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
cNasim Ashraf, Pakistan's minister of state and founder of the Pakistan Human Development Fund.
Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos Geyer, who attends the inaugural ball of the Future of Nicaragua Foundation.
Jorge F. Quiroga, former president of Bolivia, who addresses Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.
Dominador Kaiser Bazan, vice president of Panama, who addresses the United States-Panama Business Council.
Mike Moore, former prime minister of New Zealand and former director general of the World Trade Organization, who speaks at George Washington University.
cHumberto Aguilar Coronado, Mexico's undersecretary for legislative affairs in the Interior Ministry, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Avdy Kuliev, former foreign minister of Turkmenistan now living in Moscow, where he directs the United Democratic Opposition of Turkmenistan; and Vyacheslav Mamedov, founder of the Turkmenistan Helisinki Group. They discuss human rights conditions in Turkmenistan at a forum sponsored by Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe.

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