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Saudi Arabia will cut off any finger raised against it – Saudi FM | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal confirmed Saudi Arabia’s complete rejection of any foreign interference in its internal affairs, regardless of its source. He said that Saudi Arabia will “cut off any finger” raised against it, warning that “as for [foreign] interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we completely reject this, as we do not interfere in the internal affairs of others. We are a state based on Islamic Sharia law, and we will not accept any reproach from those who believe that there is something that they do not accept in this regime.”

In a press conference held by the Saudi Foreign Minister on Wednesday at a branch of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Mecca Region, Prince Saud al-Faisal stressed that “reform does not come via protests and [the clerics] have forbidden such protests since they violate the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.”

He added “change comes via the citizens of this country, not in accordance with the dictates of foreign parties” stressing that “our people have been living in this country since the time of Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) and they know their interests and requirements and how to reach their objectives. We aim to protect their independence and interests.”

Answering a question put to him by Asharq Al-Awsat as to whether Iran was responsible for stirring up civil unrest in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Foreign Minister said “As for Iran, we hope that it deals with the demonstrations that are taking place in its own country.” He added “In Saudi Arabia we don’t have any demonstrations such as those in Iran, and I reiterate what I said before, we will not tolerate any interference in our internal affairs by any foreign party…and if we find any foreign interference, we will deal with this decisively.”

Prince Saud al-Faisal also called attention to previous statements issued by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Islamic Scholars, stressing the importance of protecting the interests of the country. He said “these statements have stressed the necessity of supporting the interests of society, and emphasized that reform cannot take place through demonstrations and means that cause unrest and disunity. These statements forbade demonstrations as violating the applicable Islamic Sharia rulings which are based upon the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Prophet.”

As for the political changes that a number of Arab countries have witnessed recently, the Saudi Foreign Minister said “I think each country has its own characteristics, and each country is different, therefore we cannot treat the situation in each different country as a common phenomenon.” He added “these events share similarities, but each one is different from the other.”

Prince Saud al-Faisal also stressed that Saudi Arabia is an open country, saying “King Abdullah has instructed all officials that their doors should be open to all citizens to present proposals and grievances.” He also stressed the government’s efforts to protect human rights and establish justice and equality, saying “the best way to achieve all of these objectives is through dialogue.”

In a reference to a recent demonstration which took place in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Prince Saud al-Faisal said that “when a group of our brothers came out [to protest], a police officer asked them what was stopping them from presenting their demands directly to the Saudi authorities, as their offices are open to everybody.”

He added “the officer told them to issue their demands in writing, and they presented this [to the authorities] and then returned to their homes.”

The Saudi Foreign Minister also said that “we have [also] witnessed the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz receiving groups of citizens from the Eastern Province and other parts of the Kingdom on Tuesday.”

As for the recent political changes in Egypt, the Saudi Foreign Minister stressed that Saudi Arabia’s strategic relations with Egypt would not change following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. He said “the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt is a close and strategic one, [it is] a fraternal relationship, and therefore the internal [political] developments in Egypt will not affect our relations. We will stand by and engage with any leadership selected by the Egyptian people, and we will continue our strong relationship with Egypt which is in the interests of both of our countries and peoples, as well as in the best interests of the region and the Arab and Islamic world.”

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal also highlighted the importance of the last Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] meeting in Abu Dhabi, saying that “the solidarity and unity expressed by member-states during this meeting was greater than at any time before” adding that “I think you will note a fundamental shift with regards to the solidarity and unity of the GCC from now on.”

As for the unrest in Libya and the calls for an international no-fly zone to be imposed on the country, the Saudi Foreign Minister said that this issue will be decided by the Arab League. He added that the most important thing is “to stem the bloodshed” in Libya and protect the country’s unity.