Asharq Al-Awsat, Riyadh- Blaming misinformation for disagreements between the United States and Saudi Arabia, US Senator Chuck Hagel said on Thursday his country “should not, cannot and will not impose its standards on any other nation.”
His remarks came during a press conference in Riyadh, flanked by Democrat Senator Tom Carper and Representative Ellen Tauscher, during a visit to the Kingdom, as part of a seven-nation tour including visits that started in Israel, the West Bank and Jordan and will continued to Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt.
The congressional delegation met with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince Sultan and Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal on Thursday and discussed various local and regional issues.
The Republican Senator for Nebraska told reporters the purpose of the trip was primarily to “come, listen and leave with a better understanding of issues that confront the world.”
He added that Americans have “many friends” in the region and “value the relationship they have with the people of the Middle East.”
Sen. Carper pointed to the “important relationship” the two countries have “shared for decades and hoped that the upcoming Iraqi elections would lead to a stable government, adding that Riyadh and Washington supported the two-state solution in Israel and Palestine.
Sen. Hagel said the delegation discussed the war on terror, developing bilateral security relations to bring to an end terrorist attacks and the financing of terror.
Claiming he did not hear President George W. Bush’s speech in which he discussed the White House’s strategy for victory in Iraq and not a timetable for withdrawal, as some have demanded, Sen. Hagel said, “I think it was important for the president to lay out a strategy for the American people in a more comprehensive review” and that “in the end, the Iraqi people will determine the outcome” of events in Iraq.
On her second visit to the Kingdom, Rep. Tauscher who is an advocate for businesses in California said she personally supported Saudi Arabia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.