DUBAI - Saudi Arabia rejected any negotiations with al-Qaida for the release of a diplomat seized in Yemen last month and vowed to do all it can to free the hostage, a pan-Arab newspaper reported on Wednesday.
A Saudi spokesman said on Tuesday that a suspected al-Qaida militant has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the diplomat, Abdallah al-Khalidi, and demanded the release of militants in Saudi prisons. He threatened in a call to the Saudi embassy in Sanaa to kill the diplomat unless their demands are met.
"The Saudi government cannot negotiate or bargain with al-Qaida, the kidnapping party," the Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper quoted assistant foreign minister, Prince Khaled bin Saud, as saying.
"We are working and will work with all our power, and we have instructions from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Abdullah)..., to follow up with the brothers in Yemen to ensure his release," he added.
Saudi Foreign Ministry officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.