WikiLeaks saga: Saudi Arabia makes no effort for damage control

Published: December 1, 2010
File photo of the Saudi King on an earlier visit to Pakistan. PHOTO: EPA

File photo of the Saudi King on an earlier visit to Pakistan. PHOTO: EPA

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia appears to have made little or no damage control effort after the leaked US diplomatic memo that suggests the Saudi King’s ‘dislike’ for President Asif Zardari.

Though Pakistan wasted no time in rejecting the WikiLeaks disclosure, the Saudi government has neither issued a clarification nor established any contact with the Pakistan administration, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The United States informed both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in advance about what the leaked documents contained.

However, the Saudi government did not make any effort to clarify its position on Shah Abdullah describing President Zardari as the biggest hurdle to Pakistan’s progress.

“There has been no contact yet between the two sides on the controversy,” said a top foreign ministry official.

On Tuesday, the Saudi foreign ministry gave its first reaction over the leaked cables but preferred not to offer any comments about the King’s purported remarks towards Zardari.

Although, it did clarify the Kingdom’s position on Iran, saying Riyadh is not finding any authenticity in the leaked documents that claim the Saudi King urged the US to attack Tehran.

“The WikiLeaks revelations are not something that we didn’t know … the only difference is that now this has been made public,” said a top foreign ministry official.

But analysts say the mysterious silence from Saudi Arabia on the King’s remarks directed at President Zardari is an indication that the two countries are not enjoying the cordial relations that they once had in the past.

This is the reason that President Zardari has yet to pay an official visit to Saudi Arabia since he became head of State, said official sources.

They disclosed that in 2008 when Zardari visited the Kingdom as co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, along with the delegation headed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, the Saudi King initially refused to meet him.

However, he was eventually given an audience with the Monarch after hectic diplomatic efforts, sources add.

Despite repeated attempts, the US Embassy could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has asked US to take action against the officials who leaked confidential information to WikiLeaks.

“We expect strict action against officials involved in leaking this information,” remarked an official while speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The WikiLeaks, which posted some 200 cables written by US diplomats on its website over the last weekend, revealed that Washington had been exerting pressure on Pakistan since 2007 to grant it access to the country’s nuclear facilities.

The disclosure, according to many Pakistanis, confirms their fears that the US is after the country’s nuclear programme.

“This will certainly create more anti-Americanism in Pakistan,” the official warned.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2010.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (7)

  • Dec 1, 2010 - 10:48AM

    Why should Saudi clarify anything? The king used the right words to describe Zardari. Its actually specifying about Pakistan in generalRecommend

  • IZ
    Dec 1, 2010 - 11:07AM

    Why should Saudi clarify anything? There were the prime backers of the US invasion of Iraq and they are pushing the USA and Israel to attack Iran. They are also funding militants groups who are murdering innocents in Pakistan. They have always followed these polices and try to lord over the entire region. We should cut ties with this corrupt and bloated kingdom and make a nuclear defence pact with Iran.Recommend

  • IAO
    Dec 1, 2010 - 1:00PM

    Saudis will not need to clarify anything:

    Is it true that President Zardari as the biggest hurdle to Pakistan’s progress? I think so, otherwise he need prove me wrong, it is strange to know the most of the Pakistanis love the Saudi king more than President Zardar! I think Saudi government has invested its relation with President Musharaf and he is coming back.

    If Iran will be attacked, this is for sure not because the Saudis urge the US to do so (personally I think this is silly to believe that the Saudi’s king has urge the Americans to do so, there is no report saying the King said this, the report is talking about the Saudi ambassador in the US), if the US will do it, this will be to protect the US interests in the Gulf area.Recommend

  • MAD
    Dec 1, 2010 - 2:23PM

    Now why would the Saudi king clarify anything to Pakistan. He can come out and say that the President is the rotten head atop a rotting body and the only statement that our foriegn office can give would be that the President considers the Saudi King as his elder brother. They dont hacve the guts to criticize him or even offer regrets and certainly lack the political clout to ask for an apology.

    In short if you act like a begger expect to be treated as one.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Dec 1, 2010 - 10:06PM

    Its not about how honest or dishonest Zardari is. Its about the leader of a friendly country calling its democratically elected leader names in front of other dignitaries. The weird thing is nobody in Pakistan seems to mind.

    I wonder if the Saudi Monarchy has used such words for Osama or Musharaff or Zia who have destroyed cultural and economic and institutional fabric of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Mohammad
    Dec 2, 2010 - 12:48AM

    Hah! King Abdullah doesn’t need to clarify anything. The whole world knows Zardari isn’t capable of leading Pakistan and the Saudi King’s statement which echoed the sentiments of millions worldwide just happened to be made public. How do you trust someone nicknamed Mr. 10 Percent? A man who still amazes me by his jail to President House story! The Saudi government did not even donate to the official flood victim’s fund either rather choosing to donate its millions via the Saudi embassy in Islamabad. So bottom line, it is obvious that the King and hence the Saudi government doesn’t trust the current corrupt establishment.Recommend

  • hakim ali channa
    Jan 22, 2011 - 11:47AM

    Actualy king Abdullah is Dictator, and fundmental, also donner or financer of AL-QAIDA & Fundamental parties of pakistand and all over the world.he is king not Democretic personality. because he is bad man.

    Asif Ali Zardari is Democretic personality, he belongs from seculor thouths.

    so that it is two differents thoughts.

    why saudi king like to zardari or any democretic people.

    in the end i shame to Dectator thoughts.

    oh thanks God. i am not in the side of dectators.Recommend

More in Pakistan