LONDON (Agencies) King Abdullah accused Britain on Monday of failing to act on information Saudi Arabia provided that might have averted London’s deadly July 7, 2005, suicide bombings, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Abdullah told the BBC, hours before arriving in London for a state visit, that Britain was not doing enough in the war on terror.
“I believe that most countries are not taking this issue too seriously, including, unfortunately, Great Britain,” he said through a translator. “We have sent information to Great Britain before the terrorist attacks in Britain, but unfortunately no action was taken and it may have been able to avert the tragedy.
Months before the July 7, 2005, attack in which four suicide bombers killed 52 people and wounded hundreds on London’s transit network, Saudi Arabia told the British and U.S. governments that it had arrested a young Saudi man who confessed to raising money for a terrorist attack in crowded areas of the British capital, officials have told The Associated Press.
The Saudis obtained information that the attack would involve explosives and a Syrian contact for financing, and that at least some of the four attackers would be British citizens, according to officials in several countries with direct access to the information, the officials said.
The officials said at the time that the investigation had not connected any players from the July 2005 attacks to the original Saudi warning and that the information provided in December 2004 did not provide attackers’ names, a date, specific location or time of attack.
But they said the information gleaned from the suspect after he was captured returning to Saudi Arabia was detailed enough to heighten British concerns about the possibility of an attack around July 2005 in crowded sections of London, including in nightclubs.
The king also said he believes that a forthcoming Middle East peace conference in the United States will fail unless the Palestinians’ needs are taken more seriously.
International pressure is growing on Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a common vision of a final peace deal before a Middle East peace conference. The meeting is expected to take place in Annapolis, Maryland, in November or December.
“We are hearing that our Palestinian brethren are not very optimistic about the progress that has been achieved thus far,” the king said.
“And I believe that unless a serious effort is put into this in order to reach agreements that satisfy the Palestinians, and the Arab world and the Islamic world, then I believe the conference may not be successful.
King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in on a three-day official visit to Britain at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II. The King will arrive in Britain today and depart on November 1, according to a statement by the Foreign Office.
During his visit, King Abdullah will receive an official welcome from Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, attend a state banquet, meet with Prime Minister Gordon Brown and attend a dinner hosted by the Lord Mayor of London. The King will also meet separately with Prince Charles to discuss the prince’s charities in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia and Britain are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including: a UK-Saudi joint statement; an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation; and Memoranda of Understanding on vocational education and sports cooperation.
Additionally, the UK-Saudi Arabia Two Kingdoms Dialogue will hold its third meeting today. This year’s topic is “Two Kingdoms, Shared Challenges.” Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal is scheduled to address the meeting, which focuses on key issues that affect both nations.
King Abdullah has paid previous official visits to Britain in 1973, 1984, 1988 and 1998. This will be his first official visit to Britain since assuming the throne.