Dialogue, not protest, is the best way to bring about change in Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal said as the Kingdom braced for possible protests in the world’s top oil exporter.Inspired by unrest sweeping other Arab states, Shias have taken to the streets in small numbers in eastern Saudi Arabia this month, with further rallies called for today.
Faisal cautioned that demonstrations would not usher in reform to Saudi Arabia and said its Muslim clerics had banned protests. “The principle of dialogue, I believe, is the best way to address the issues facing society,” he told a news conference, warning foreign states not to interfere in Saudi affairs.
“Change will come through the citizens of this Kingdom and not through foreign fingers, we don’t need them,” he said. “We will cut any finger that crosses into the kingdom.”
Saudi Arabia’s huge oil wealth has provided a high standard of living compared to many neighbors, and it was widely thought to be immune from spreading unrest, but the rumblings of discontent among some communities have alarmed Riyadh.
“The called-for reform does not come via protests. The clerics have forbidden protests as they violate the Holy Quran and the way of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him),” Faisal added.