Saudi prince hits back at Obama - 'No, we are not free riders'

By REUTERS
March 14, 2016 11:15

 
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A senior Saudi Arabian prince on Monday condemned comments attributed to US President Barack Obama, saying the American leader had "thrown us a curve ball" in criticizing Riyadh's regional role.

Obama, in comments to The Atlantic last week, described Saudi Arabia as a "free rider" on American foreign policy, and criticized what he saw as Riyadh's funding of religious intolerance and refusal to come to an accommodation with Iran.

"No, Mr Obama. We are not 'free riders'," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London, wrote in an open letter carried by the local Arab News English-language daily.

Prince Turki listed Riyadh's support for Syrian rebels fighting the Islamic State group, its humanitarian aid for refugees in the region and its creation of an Islamic anti-terrorism coalition.

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