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Saudi Arabia treats all expatriate workers equally
Jeddah, 29th March 2001

   Interior Minister Prince Naif has said Saudi Arabia treats all expatriate workers equally and that no nationality is immune from arrests if they are found to be involved in criminal activity. He was speaking to reporters after a function in Jeddah on Tuesday night.

“There are many nationalities in the Kingdom and any person could be arrested, and this does not need to be reported in the media,” he said when asked about reports about a missing Canadian.

“All nationalities here are equal and whoever deserves to be arrested or questioned will be arrested and questioned and (that person) could be a Canadian or a non-Canadian,” Prince Naif said after opening the Career Day at King Abdul Aziz University.

A spokeswoman at Canada’s department of foreign affairs announced the disappearance last Friday but would not disclose even the gender of the Canadian, saying only that Canada was in touch with Saudi authorities to seek information.

Canadian newspapers reported that the missing Canadian was one of three men arrested after a bomb explosion outside a book shop in Riyadh on March 15 which left a Briton and an Egyptian lightly wounded.

A series of blasts in Saudi Arabia late last year which killed one Briton and wounded four other people has been linked to illegal activities, including alcohol smuggling.

Another Canadian, 42-year-old William Sampson, was arrested in November along with a Briton and a Belgian on suspicion of carrying out the blasts. They were shown separately on Saudi TV confessing to the attacks.

Prince Naif rejected reports which said three explosive devices were found in Madinah by security officers “as rumors”. “There is no truth at all in this report,” he said.

The minister said people circulating such rumors must be brought to account and hoped that no Saudi citizen or newspaper would engage in such rumor-mongering.

Prince Naif said his ministry would try its best to accommodate the largest number of Saudi youths in the security services. He called upon the private sector to support the recently launched Manpower Development Fund. The fund’s board of directors would identify new sources of income, he added.

Prince Naif, who is chairman of the Manpower Council, warned Saudis that they might lose jobs if they did not carry out their work properly or violated conditions in work contracts.

He said the Saudization drive should not be considered as an action against expatriates. “It’s the right of Saudis to get jobs in their country. Moreover, it is dangerous to find a citizen unemployed and an expatriate employed.”

He said the Kingdom had requested Iraq to extradite two Saudis who hijacked a Saudi Arabian Airlines plane to Baghdad through international organizations.

Source: ArabNews®

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29 March 2001 05:29:17 PM

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