Saudis welcome release of new evidence on 9/11 attacks
The Saudi Embassy in Washington on Wednesday rebuked claims that Riyadh was "in any way" involved in the 9/11 attacks.
In a statement, the embassy welcomed the ongoing release of classified documents related to the FBI's probe of the attacks and framed US-Saudi relations as an ongoing partnership dedicated to fighting terrorism.
It was published just days before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in which nearly 3,000 people died when 19 plane hijackers, of whom 15 were Saudi, targeted the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC.
“The Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United States welcomes the release of the classified documents," read the Saudi statement.
“And as past investigations have revealed, including the 9/11 Commission and the release of the so-called ‘28-pages,’ no evidence has ever emerged to indicate that the Saudi government or its officials had previous knowledge of the terrorist attack or were in any way involved in its planning or execution.”
Family members of victims asked the US government to investigate suspicions that the FBI lied about or destroyed evidence linking Saudi Arabia to the hijackers.
In response, US President Joe Biden ordered the Department of Justice to review documents from the FBI's probe into 9/11 for declassification and release.
The order requires US Attorney General Merrick Garland to make the declassified documents public over the next six months.
The embassy said that Saudi Arabia has “consistently called for the release of all materials related to the United States’ investigation of the attacks.”
The embassy's statement also described Saudi Arabia as “an essential counterterrorism partner to the United States", saying that Riyadh had countered extremist groups in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
“The coordinated work of Saudi Arabia and the United States to disrupt and intercept terrorist plots over the last 20 years undoubtedly has saved the lives of thousands of Saudis and Americans, and made the world a safer place,” the statement read.
Saudi Arabia's words of friendship to the United States have been interpreted as a deliberate attempt to soften relations amid criticism that despite social reforms in the kingdom, its leaders continue to crack down on political dissents and restrict basic freedoms, particularly on women.
Tensions persist between the two nations over the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes in Yemen that have killed and wounded civilians.