Saudi warns US about embassy

Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations would sever diplomatic ties with the United States if the US Embassy in Israel were moved to Jerusalem, the Saudi Foreign Minister said Tuesday.

In an interview, Prince Saud al-Faisal noted that the Islamic Conference Organization, which groups the Muslim nations of the world, had decided to break ties with any country that establishes its embassy in what is considered Islam's third-holiest city.

''We are committed of course to these decisions,'' Prince Faisal said.

The Princeton-educated prince continued: ''We hate to abrogate relations with any country, let !l 8e the United States. The issue is so important, so significant, so consequential that here these intentions must be reciprocal. I think the United States also has to be interested in maintaining its relations with the Muslim world.''

A bill is under consideration in the US Congress proposing the embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Faisal asked that Congress vote on the basis of what would further peace in the Middle East and not on the basis of American election-year politicking.

Diplomats in the Saudi capital noted that the prince's statements were the bluntest so far by a Saudi official on the issue of transferring the US Embassy in Israel.

The minister suggested that if Congress wants to solve the Middle East problem, it should find other ways.

Diplomats in the region, as well as Faisal, say that the reaction to the embassy relocation would not be limited to the Arab world. Faisal warned of ''dire, very dire consequences in the relations of any country that moves its embassy to Jerusalem.''

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