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 Qaeda, 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.
Khalidi, the kingdom's deputy consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, was kidnapped outside his residence on March 28.