This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THENEWS.
This week, the government of Saudi Arabia announced measures toprevent money from reaching terror groups. The Saudi government alsodisputed accusations that it has failed to do this in the past.
The administration of President Bush welcomed the Saudiannouncement. The Bush administration had suggested recently thatSaudi officials do more to fight terror.
Adel al-Jubeir is an advisor to Saudi Arabia's acting ruler,Crown Prince Abdullah. Mister al-Jubeir told reporters in WashingtonTuesday that Saudi Arabia has been criticized unfairly. He said hisnation is the victim of a campaign that borders on hate.
Mister al-Jubeir condemned al-Qaida as a terrorist organization.He said Saudi Arabia is a target for Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaidaleader was born there. He is thought to have plotted the attacks onAmerica of September eleventh, two-thousand-one.
Mister al-Jubeir noted that fifteen of the nineteen suspectskilled in the attacks were Saudi citizens. He said al-Qaida did thison purpose to harm Saudi ties with the United States.
A new report describes steps the Saudi government says it hastaken since the September eleventh attacks. They include orderingfinancial investigations of Saudi organizations that give money topeople suffering or the needy. Saudi officials created a governmentagency to supervise these charities. Saudi Arabia says it isestablishing a process to follow the movement of charity money. Italso is developing rules for sending charity money to othercountries.
Saudi charities receive as much as four-thousand-million dollarsevery year. Of that, Mister al-Jubeir said only about ten percent issent out of the country. He said the Saudi government has not foundevidence that charity money is reaching terrorists. He also said itwas possible that terrorists may have received some money mistakenlyor through other groups.
Some reports say the Federal Bureau of Investigation had examinedcharity payments made by Princess Haifa al-Faisal. Her husband isthe Saudi ambassador to the United States.
Saudi Arabia says it suspended activity in thirty-three bankaccounts containing more than five-million-five-hundred-thousanddollars. The money belonged to three people. One of them, Wael HamzaJulaidan, served as a director for a Saudi charity. He is suspectedof having ties to Osama bin Laden.
Mister al-Jubeir said Saudi officials have questioned many peopleabout al-Qaida. He said more than two-thousand people have beenquestioned since the attacks in the United States. He said more thanone-hundred are still being held.
Both the United States Treasury Department and the StateDepartment praised Saudi cooperation in the campaign againstterrorism. Political observers say the Bush Administration wantsSaudi Arabia's support if there is a war with Iraq.
This VOA Special English program, IN THE NEWS, was written byJerilyn Watson. This is Steve Ember.