The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Saudis for UN, not US, action

London, Sept. 16 (Reuters): Unexpected support from Saudi Arabia for a UN-sanctioned attack against Iraq tightened the screws on Baghdad today to comply with UN resolutions on weapons inspections and gave a boost to war-hungry Washington.

In a surprise change of tune for Riyadh, foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal indicated in a weekend interview that Saudi Arabia, the main launchpad in the 1991 Gulf War, would again allow the use of bases on its soil to attack Iraq.

Saudi Arabia, Washington’s main ally in the oil-rich Gulf region, had previously agreed with other Arab allies to oppose an attack on Iraq. A senior Saudi official said today it would back UN-sanctioned action against Iraq, but not a unilateral US attack.

“Saudi Arabia rejects any unilateral attack that has no international cover,” a senior Saudi diplomatic official told Reuters from Riyadh.

“The shift is in the American position, not the Saudi position,” he added, referring to US attempts to lobby the UN Security Council against Iraq rather than act alone.

The remarks could bolster US-Saudi relations, under strain after the September 11 attacks on the United States once it emerged that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.

Asked by CNN if Riyadh would allow the use of its bases for a campaign against Iraq, Prince Saud said: “If the UN takes a decision by the Security Council to implement a policy of the UN, every country that has signed the charter of the UN has to fulfil it.”

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