Saudi $10 M in question

Oct. 11, 2001 at 2:41 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said Thursday that he will discuss with the State Department on whether to accept a $10 million donation from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud of Saudi Arabia after the prince called on the United States to reconsider its stance on Palestinians.

"I entirely reject that statement, it's totally contrary to what I said at the United Nations," Giuliani told reporters. "I will have to address the $10 million donation with the State Department."

The Saudi prince, listed by Forbes magazine as the sixth-wealthiest man in the world, attended a memorial service at "Ground Zero" Thursday, exactly one month after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.

"We have come here today to offer out condolences to the people of New York and to condemn terrorism and to donate $10 million," said Alwaleed. "We are here to tell America and New York that Saudi Arabia is with the United States wholeheartedly."

Alwaleed, chairman of Kingdom Holding Co. and reported to have a fortune of $20 billion mainly in U.S. equities, gave Giuliani a check for $10 million for the Twin Towers Fund, a fund started by the mayor to aid the families of city workers who lost a family member at the World Trade Center.

An aide traveling with the prince distributed a statement to the media that said "we must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack."

"We should examine the Middle East policies and adopt a more balanced stance toward the Palestinian cause," Alwaleed said. "Arabs believe that if the United States wanted to, it could play a pivotal role in pushing Israel to sign and fully implement a comprehensive peace treaty."

"The terrorists are wrong, and in fact evil, in their mass destruction of human life in the name of addressing alleged injustices," Giuliani said in an address to the U.n. General Assembly on Oct. 1. "Let those who say that we must understand the reasons for terrorism come with me to the thousands of funerals we are having in New York City and explain those insane, maniacal reasons to the children who will grow up without fathers and mothers, to the parents who have had their children ripped from them for no reason at all."

A brief memorial service was held at Ground Zero and a moment of silence observed at 8:48 a.m. at the exact moment one month ago when a hijacked airliner struck the North Twin Tower of the World Trade Center killing 422 and leaving 4,815 declared missing.

"Sometimes it feels like a year ago or more, this has been the most devastating attack on America, on New York City, ever," Giuliani said. "The fire is still burning. But from it has emerged a stronger spirit, a more unified country, a more unified city, and a more unified world -- in the goal of making certain that something like this never happens again."

As the more than 1,000 firefighters, police and construction workers paused from their 12-hour shift of sifting through the rubble for bodies and body parts through the still smoldering rubble, the mayor and Gov. George Pataki dedicated their efforts in honor of the 343 fallen firefighters, 23 police officers and thousands of civilians lost in the attack.

"In the name of all of those who we lost here -- the firefighters, police officers, the emergency workers, the citizens who were going about their lives, trying to pursue, in their way, the American dream, all of whom are heroes, we remember them, we will always remember them," the mayor said. "To them we will dedicate the rebuilding of New York, and making certain that we do not allow the terrorists in any way to affect our spirit. They attempted to break our spirit. Instead, they have emboldened it."

"America the Beautiful" played by bagpipers, closed the 15-minute service.


(Reporting by Alex Cukan in Albany, N.Y.)

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