Friday, September 21, 2007

Saudi prince plays down pledge to create political party

from The Daily Star

Media reports suggested that Prince Talal bin Abdel-Aziz's plan to form a political party was not well received inside the family and that it may have been triggered by a fight he had with his brothers over certain privileges. It was not clear whether Thursday's statement came as a result of pressure from Talal's powerful brothers. The prince said he issued it to respond to queries he received from the media and Arab citizens ... In his statement, Talal stressed that his sense of belonging to his family is so deep that "if anyone sprinkles the family with water, I will strike him with fire." The prince said he brought up the issue of political parties "for the sake of discussion only, and we have conditioned it on the king's approval. If he rejects it, we will obey," said Talal. Talal has called for reforms in the past, including the election of an assembly to enact legislation, question officials and protect public wealth. He has also called on the kingdom's powerful Wahhabi religious establishment to make changes, including on women's rights ... Talal is believed to be closer to King Abdullah than the rest of his brothers.

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