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Pentagon Says Saudi Arabia is Cooperating in War Against Terrorism - 2002-11-27

A senior Pentagon official says Saudi Arabia is cooperating in the global war on terrorism. But, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz says there are some problems.

Mr. Wolfowitz does not spell out what Saudi Arabia's problems are when it comes to cooperating in the war on terrorism.

But in a radio interview, Mr. Wolfowitz says the unspecified problems are well known to both the Saudis and to the United States.

"There are real problems there. I don't think it's a secret to them. It's not a secret to us," he said. "I think we want to work with them to address those problems and I think we've made real progress and I expect to continue making real progress."

But the Deputy Defense Secretary says no one should doubt that Saudi Arabia has made a basic decision to side with the United States in the war on terrorism.

"There shouldn't be any doubt in anyone's mind, I believe, that the Saudi government has clearly voted on the side against terrorism and is working with us against terrorism," Mr. Wolfowitz said.

Mr. Wolfowitz's comments came the same day a report appeared in The Washington Post newspaper saying the U.S. National Security Council is recommending an action plan to force Saudi Arabia to crack down on terrorist financial backers within 90 days.

The newspaper says U.S. intelligence agencies have put together a list of nine wealthy individuals who are believed to be the core group of supporters for al-Qaida and other radical Islamic terrorist groups. Of the nine, seven are reportedly Saudis.