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Powell Expresses Confidence in Saudi Ability to Maintain Stability - 2004-06-01

Secretary of State Colin Powell says he has no reason to doubt the ability of the Saudi government to maintain stability and continue oil exports, despite the weekend terrorist attack and hostage crisis at the Saudi oil town of Khobar.

Mr. Powell said he expects Saudi authorities to redouble anti-terrorism efforts.

World prices for future deliveries of crude oil took a big jump in the aftermath of the Saudi terrorist attack, which killed more than 20 people including foreign oil workers. But in a talk with reporters, Mr. Powell expressed confidence in the ability of Saudi authorities to deal with the situation.

He said there is no reason to doubt the ability of Saudi Arabia to continue oil exports and to fulfill pledges of increased output to deal with the recent surge in world prices to about $40 a barrel, well beyond OPEC targets. The secretary also said he expects an even more vigorous anti-terrorism effort by Saudi leaders.

"I am confident that the Saudis, as all other nations should, will be redoubling their efforts with respect to law enforcement, with respect to intelligence exchange, with respect to drying up terrorist financing, with respect to border controls, knowing who is in your country and for what purpose, and I think the Saudis will redouble their efforts," said Mr. Powell. "They have been doing a great deal in recent months, and I would expect them to do more."

Mr. Powell said Saturday's events in Saudi Arabia only reconfirm that the al-Qaida terrorist network, which is suspected of responsibility, is a worldwide threat that affects all nations, not just the United States. He said he knows Saudi authorities find the latest attack intolerable and, like other countries, will use all the resources at their disposal to "go after" those behind it.