Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has described dialogue as the best way to bring about change as the kingdom braces for more anti-government protest rallies.
Prince Saud al-Faisal asserted on Wednesday that demonstrations will not lead to reforms in his country and urged Saudis to express their demands through dialogue.
“The best way to achieve what citizens want is through dialogue whether in the eastern region, or the western, southern and northern regions,” the Saudi minister told a news conference.
He made the remarks after days of anti-government protests in east of the country and calls for a “Day of Rage” rally for Friday, March 11, and a “Saudi Revolution” later this week.
Faisal, the nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, also warned foreign states not to interfere in the kingdom’s internal affairs.
“Change will come through the citizens of this kingdom and not through foreign fingers, we don’t need them. We will cut any finger that crosses into the kingdom,” said the Saudi foreign minister.
US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Monday that Saudis had the right to protest and urged Riyadh to respect its citizen’s right to protest.
In Saudi Arabia, protest rallies and any other public displays of dissent are forbidden and considered illegitimate. Last week, senior Wahhabi clerics in the kingdom also censured opposition demonstrations as “un-Islamic.”
A group of Saudi youths has posted a message on Facebook, calling for a “Saudi Revolution” on March 20 to demand democratic and political reform in the monarchy.
The Facebook group, which has over 17,000 members, also called for a “Day of Rage” rally on March 11. Tens of thousands of Saudis have already joined the drive. Agencies