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U.S.: Saudi Arabia Helping in War on Terror

Saudi Arabia is cooperating in the war on terror, United States President George W. Bush wrote in a memorandum to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

The announcement allows direct aid to Saudi Arabia to help the campaign against terrorism. The assistance would have otherwise been forbidden under law.

Meanwhile, U.S. Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, who is also a close Bush aide, met with top Saudi leaders on Tuesday.

She said that although 15 of the hijackers in the attacks of September 11, 2001, were Saudi nationals, Saudi Arabia has been the victim of terror. She said the kingdom has become “an important partner of the United States in counterterrorism measures.”

Hughes is on a regional tour aimed at improving the image of the U.S. in the Middle East.

Before her visit to Jedda, Hughes criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, but she added that democratic reforms could take time.

She reportedly requested Saudi Arabia’s assistance in tackling hate literature disseminated in mosques in the U.S.

Dozens of Saudis and foreigners have been killed in terror attacks in Saudi Arabia since a wave of attacks against military and civilian facilities and compounds began in May 2003.

The assailants are supposedly affiliated to the Al-Qa’ida network and are seeking to undermine the current regime.