October 13, 2001
Saudi Sheik Regrets Giuliani
Turned Down His Donation
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 12 - Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
bin Abdul Aziz Alsaud expressed regret today that his
proposed $10 million donation to the Twin Towers Fund had
been rejected by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. The prince
said, however, that he had no qualms about his criticism of
American policy in the Middle East, which he expressed in a
The prince did not include the statement when he presented
the check on Thursday in New York. He said he included the
statement, voicing support for the Palestinian cause, in the
release because reporters have since the attack repeatedly
asked how to eradicate terrorism.
"I am telling Americans what America is beginning to know
already," the prince said in an interview here soon after
returning from New York. "America has to understand that if
it wants to extract the roots of this ridiculous and
terrible act, this issue has to be solved."
The 44-year-old prince, a billionaire investor, said he flew
from the Saudi capital to make the donation on Thursday at a
memorial service for victims of the attack to show his
affinity for the city. He also said he had suffered huge
monetary losses as a result of the attack.
"My contribution was for the family and the victims of New
York," he said. "I will not put blame on Mr. Giuliani. He is
doing a good job in New York. But his decision should be
more rational." The fund is a charity set up for survivors
of uniformed workers who died in the attacks on Sept. 11.
The letter to the mayor accompanying the donation was to
express his condolences, the prince said, adding that the
political statement in the news release was written in
anticipation of reporters' questions. The prince said he
thought that the point of view of the Arab world should be
"You have to understand that sentiments in the Middle East,
sentiments in the Arab world, are very anti-American right
now," he said. "This is being vented through the idea of
being pro-bin Laden."
The prince, a grandson of King Abdel Aziz, who founded the
kingdom, is not a member of the government. But his
statements mirror the official stance. Saudi Arabia has been
somewhat lukewarm publicly, especially toward the American
attacks on a Muslim nation, although both sides say there is
Prince Alwaleed said that the emotions after the attack were
probably still too raw in New York to absorb what he was
trying to say, especially coming from the Arab world that
evidently spawned the terrorists, but that he hoped it would
be absorbed later.
"I regret that Mr. Giuliani did this," the prince said. "The
sentiments and emotions that are simmering and boiling
maybe prohibited Mr. Giuliani from accepting."
The prince, who the chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company
and was No. 6 in July on the Forbes list of the world's
richest people, said he had suffered significant losses
because of the attack.
The prince indicated that his investments harmed in New York
included his 50 percent share of the Plaza Hotel; his 25
percent share of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which
manages the Pierre Hotel; his 8 percent holdings in Saks
Fifth Avenue; and significant shares in Citigroup, the News
Corporation and AOL Time Warner.
"We lost monetarily, although this is secondary when
you look at what the victims lost in this crime," he said,
noting that he pays up to $90 million a year in taxes to
New York City.
"I am very much entrenched in New York downtown and
Manhattan," the prince said. "This terrorist attack was not
good for the reputation of the Arab world and the Islamic
world and Saudi Arabia. I wanted to show the good face of
the Arab world."
Should the mayor want to reconsider, the prince said, the
check is still valid.
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company
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