WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- In a bid to improve U.S. relations, Saudi Arabia has granted its citizens 5,000 fully funded, four-year university scholarships to foreign schools.
About two-thirds of the 5,000 students have enrolled in U.S. schools for this fall, the New York Times said.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, stories of mistreatment and hostility toward Saudis in the United States began flowering in the Saudi press and in public discussions.
The number of Saudi students arriving to study in the United States dropped from more than 4,000 in 2001 to a low of just 1,008 last year, a State Department count of new education visas indicated. The total number of visiting Saudis fell from 46,636 in 2001 to about 12,000 last year, the New York Times said.
Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to Washington and a graduate of Georgetown University, said that two-thirds of his country's cabinet ministers had been educated in the United States.