- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 12, 2002

'Hunting them down'

Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan is heralding the success of a U.S.-Saudi investigation that froze the assets of what he described as a major terrorist financial network run by a close aide to Osama bin Laden.

"We are hunting them down, one by one," Prince Bandar said in a statement this week. "Through close cooperation with the United States, we have been able to identify the financial network that supports bin Laden and take the steps necessary to shut it down."

The investigation, announced last week by the Treasury Department, initially created confusion in Saudi Arabia, where Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz denied that the kingdom had any role in the probe.

However, the statement Tuesday from Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia's most senior diplomat, apparently was issued to clear up any doubts.

The investigation identified Wa'el Hamza Julaidan as the director of the money-laundering operation and as an ally of bin Laden since the 1980s. The ambassador said Julaidan provided financial and logistical support to bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network.

Julaidan, described as a prominent Saudi businessman in news reports, has denied any role in supporting terrorism.

The investigation exposed more than 50 shell corporations in 25 nations in Asia, Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East and blocked $70 million in terrorist assets, Prince Bandar said.

"Today that network is virtually shut down," he said. "Julaidan's financial empire is frozen."

The United States also praised the success of the operation.

The investigation "demonstrates the commitment of both the United States and Saudi Arabia to go after high-impact targets in our war against terrorist financing," said Jimmy Gurule, Treasury undersecretary for enforcement.

Politics takes a break

The "lively and heated" election campaign in Sweden took a break from politics yesterday to honor the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson said.

"It was a proper and wonderful gesture," he said. "This lively and heated election debate took this break to show the American people our thoughts are with you."

Prime Minister Goran Persson is leading his Social Democratic Party against Conservative Party leader Bo Lundgren in Sunday's election.

The two leaders paused for a moment of silence and attended a memorial service at the Anglo-American Church in Stockholm.

'Going it alone'

The U.S. ambassador to Germany yesterday said the United States may have to act alone against Iraq, as U.S. envoys throughout the world expressed their thoughts on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Ambassador Daniel Coats wrote in Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the United States wants the support of its allies but there are "times when going it alone is the only way to achieve a certain goal."

Mr. Coats added, "I entirely agree that military force should only be used as a last resort, but last does not mean never."

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has been the most critical voice in Europe against military action to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Ambassador to Australia Tom Schieffer said military action could be avoided if the United Nations would enforce its resolutions against Iraq.

He told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he hopes the debate about Iraq "will produce something that won't make a military action necessary."

In Saudi Arabia, Ambassador Robert W. Jordan called for Americans and Saudis to learn more about each other's culture and history because the attacks last year were aimed at destroying the 60-year relationships between the two countries.

"Americans generally do not know much about Saudi Arabia, but then neither do Saudis know much about the United States," he wrote in an article in the Arab News. "We must make greater efforts to reduce this ignorance."

Clark Randt, the U.S. ambassador to China, praised U.S.-Chinese cooperation in the war against terrorism, as he spoke at an anniversary ceremony in Beijing.

"September 11 demonstrated to America that we have real enemies," he said, "and that China is not among them."

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