INDEPENDENT NEWS

U.S. Praises Saudi Efforts to Fight Terrorism

Published: Tue 11 Nov 2003 10:23 PM
U.S. Praises Saudi Efforts to Fight Terrorism
State's Boucher says U.S.-Saudi cooperation will strengthen
State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher praised Saudi authorities for making an "excellent effort" against terrorism since a May 12 suicide bomb attack in Riyadh.
Boucher was speaking November 10 at the State Department press briefing, two days after a similar attack in the Saudi capital killed 17, according to press reports.
"Saudi Arabia has taken a lot of steps. They've lost lives of their policemen, they've been very aggressive in raids, going after al Qaeda cells, going after terrorist operatives who have been using the territory of the kingdom for evil attacks," said Boucher.
The spokesman added that there has been "excellent cooperation" with U.S. authorities in terms of law enforcement, the military, and intelligence sharing.
"There is always more we could be doing until we prevent attacks like this," said Boucher, adding that the two governments will "find ways to further that cooperation and that effort."
Following is an excerpt from the November 10 State Department briefing containing Boucher's comments about U.S.-Saudi cooperation against terrorism:
QUESTION: [W]ithout implying anything about Saudi intentions, is Saudi Arabia up to this job of countering terrorism? And what could the United States do? Saudi is special, you know, for strategic and other reasons. What can the U.S. do to make Saudi Arabia more secure?
MR. BOUCHER: I think, first of all, it's important to note that particularly since the May bombing Saudi Arabia has taken a lot of steps. They've lost lives of their policemen. They've been very aggressive in raids, going after al-Qaida cells, going after terrorist operatives who have been using the territory of the Kingdom for evil attacks.
The United States has worked very closely with Saudi Arabia in that process. We've helped them increase security at compounds. We've helped them increase security generally in the Kingdom. And we've worked very closely with them not only in the law enforcement and military aspects, but also on the financial side, sharing more information back and forth on the intelligence side, as well as in law enforcement and military areas.
So there's a lot that's going on already. At the same time, whenever there's an attack like this, one always has to come to the conclusion there is more we could be doing. There is always more we could be doing, until we prevent attacks like this, and that has to be our primary concern now. What more can we do in terms of our assets, our support and our cooperation with the Saudi Government? I think it's first to note the excellent cooperation, the excellent effort that's been made by the Saudi Government, particularly since the May attacks, and just to say that we'll find ways to further that cooperation and that effort.

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