The 28 year old ambassador commented to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on the issue of Qatar, “I think Qatar’s policies have been a threat to our national security, especially when they interfere in our domestic politics and support extremists. In Syria, they have supported Al Qaida affiliates and some terrorist Shiite militias in Iraq. We hope Qatar will stop funding extremism.” He continued, “The Saudi government is on the front line of fighting terrorism. There might be people from a lot of different countries who support terrorism, but in Qatar the problem is that it is government-funded.”
When questioned about supporting moderate groups in Syria, he responded, “There are some moderate opposition groups, for example, the Free Syrian Army. There are a lot of people in Syria who want to free themselves from the dictatorship of Bashar Al Assad. We are working with our allies to help stabilize Syria,” adding that “Bashar Al Assad has killed more than 500,000 people. We are working with the US to end the Syria problem”.
Prince Khalid explained that in regards to Iran’s meddling in Iraq, “Sunnis and Shiites have to be treated equally as Iraqi citizens. Iran wants Iraq to obey Iran. We support the independence of Iraq.” He talked about the need for bringing all parties together, saying that sectarianism always leads to terrorism.
Again on Iran, he said that Saudi Arabia has been encouraging all parties to the negotiating table to discuss the war in Yemen, but the Al Houthis have refused. “The ball is now in Al Houthis’ court. They have to drop their weapons and become part of Yemen, not part of Iran.”
Regarding Iran’s threat to close the Arabian Gulf, he said, “Iran has threatened to do so on multiple occasions in the past. The whole world, including our government, is worried about that. The Strait of Hormuz is important not just to our economy, but to the international economy; the US and its allies realize how big the threat is to international security, and we are ready to work together to contain Iran’s actions and its expansionist policies.”
He was questioned about possible Saudi links to the 9/11 attacks, and explained, “We had nothing to do with 9/11. In 1996, Osama Bin Laden issued a declaration of war against the United States and Saudi Arabia. In 1994, we took away Bin Laden’s Saudi citizenship when he was in Sudan. We believe the same people who attacked the United States on 9/11 attacked us in Saudi Arabia multiple times.”
He called the 19 hijackers members of Al Qaida, and said that the reason why 15 Saudi nationals were selected was that Al Qaida “wanted to create a split between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”