Following are excerpts from an interview with Prince Abdullah ibn Adbul Aziz, second deputy prime minister and commander of the Saudi National Guard:
Q: What should the response to the invasion of Afghanistan be?
A: Communism and the Soviets are encircling the region. It started in the Horn of Africa and then moved to Afghanistan and South Yemen. Despite warnings from the highest authorities in Saudi Arabia to the United States, there was no positive response when this was happening. Orally, the Americans did agree to everything we said, but actively there was no response. Somalia is a good example. Saudi Arabia has helped bring Somalia away from communism, but the United States has not responded to a request for help from Somalia. Why is it that the United States can be too generous with some states and not generous at all with other states?
Q: Do you have Israel in mind?
A: We must never overlook one fact and that is that we and the Jews are cousins. We are all Semites. We have been living together for a very long time in peace. We do differentiate between the state of Israel and the Jews as a people.
Five or six years ago you could never talk about peace with many Arabs. Now, in every Arab country the climate is ready for peace. Why then is Israel refusing peace by refusing to give the Palestinian people their rights? Arabs have realized that with war you can never come to a practical and human solution. We know that bloodshed hurts everyone. And we know that the continuation of the present situation creates the climate most favorable to the spread of communism in the region.
The region will be completely secure once the obstinacy of the Israelis ends and there is a full peace. America has to convince Israeli leaders that war is not in their favor, not in the long run. The Americans through their military and economic aid should exercise pressure to show the Israelis this.
Q: Does President Sadat's effort have a chance to succeed?
A: Sadat has thrown himself completely in the lap of the United States and promised everything. But what did he obtain? There have been negative results. The United States has not given Israel the historical perspective of hundreds of thousands of years that is needed to achieve peace. The theory that a Palestinian state on the West Bank will be communist or a base of instability is completely wrong. If the Palestinians get an entity of their own, then the other Arab states will help them develop their country and make it stable.
Q: What can be done on the hostages in Iran?
A: The failure of the rescue mission has increased the belief in Khomeini in Iran. People believe that it was he, not God, who defeated this mission. iPresident Carter has exercised a perfect self-restraint. If Carter continues his patience perhaps the hostages can be released soon. We have only just a vague idea about that, but God's providence has protected them until now and perhaps they will be released soon.
Q: Has the special relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States been weakened?
A: Americans should decide if they want to have their friends strong or weak. We are strong through our deep belief in God, in our nation and in ourselves. There are people who are infiltrating distorted pictures of Saudi Arabia to the Americans. There are invented stories in the press of rivalry between Crown Prince Fahd and myself. These are false. I am a loyal servant to his majesty, King Khalid, and to the crown prince.
The Saudi image has also been distorted by these people who deal in great profits and commissions. Some of these people call themselves Saudis but were not even born here. They are being stopped, and they will no longer distort our image.