JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia has rejected any negotiations with Al-Qaeda for the release of a Saudi diplomat seized in Yemen last month and vowed to do all it can to free the hostage.
“We are working and will work with all our power, and we have instructions from (King Abdullah) Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques ..., to follow up with the brothers in Yemen to ensure the release of the kidnapped diplomat,” Prince Khaled Bin Saud, Assistant Foreign Minister, was quoted by local media as saying.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, said Tuesday that a suspected Al-Qaeda militant has claimed responsibility for kidnapping the diplomat, Abdullah Al-Khalidi, and demanded the release of militants in Saudi prisons. He threatened in a call to the Saudi embassy in Sana’a to kill the diplomat unless their demands are met.
“The Saudi government cannot negotiate or bargain with Al-Qaeda, the kidnapping party,” Al-Hayat newspaper quoted Prince Khaled as saying.
Al-Khalidi, the Kingdom’s deputy consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, was kidnapped outside his residence on March 28.
Al-Turki said the Al-Qaeda caller had been identified as Mishal Muhammad Al-Shodokhi, who was named on a list of fugitive Al-Qaeda militants by Riyadh in 2009.
Al-Khalidi in good health
Meanwhile, tribal sources in Yemen’s Abyan Governorate have claimed that the abducted envoy was keeping good health and there was no cause for concern about his safety. Ahmad Al-Fadhli, one of the sheikhs of Abyan, has received a CD showing Al-Khalidi in good health, Okaz Arabic daily said.
A security source in Aden said the diplomat is not only a Saudi national but a son of Yemen and “we are concerned and keen for his safety and to get him released.” — SG