Saudi donates $10 million to WTC fund

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The Independent US

A Saudi prince criticised US policies in the Middle East while visiting the World Trade Center ruins and presenting Mayor Rudolph Giuliani with a $10 million cheque for relief efforts.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew a Saudi King Fahd and one of the world's richest men, toured "ground zero" and called the attacks "a tremendous crime."

"It's just unbelievable," he said. "We are here to tell America and to tell New York that Saudi Arabia is with the United States wholeheartedly."

But in a statement distributed by an aide, the prince said that "at times like this one we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack.

"I believe the government of the United States of America should re-examine its policies in the Middle East and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause. Our Palestinian brethren continue to be slaughtered at the hands of Israelis while the world turns the other cheek."

Alwaleed is chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. and was sixth on Forbes magazine's list of the world's richest men for 2001.

He did not criticize US policies in his speech, saying instead, "I came here to show my allegiance to New York."

Alwaleed said prime terrorism suspect Osama bin Laden, a Saudi, does not represent the Wahabi sect of Islam, which is practiced only in Saudi Arabia.

"This has nothing to do with Wahabis at all, at all," he said. "This guy does not belong to Wahabis. He does not belong to Islam or any religion in the whole world."

In his statement the prince added, "I speak for all Muslims, Arabs and Saudis when I say that we represent the absolute antithesis of terror. My mission is to bridge East and West. I also want to reiterate Saudi Arabia's stance in condemning all forms of terrorism."