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Ghannushi wants good relations with Saudi Arabia

December 18th, 2011
“Tunisian al-Nahda party leader Rashid Ghannouchi yesterday strongly denied the comments attributed to him by the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy and which were later published in the press. The Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, following an hour long meeting with the Tunisian political leader, claimed that he had said that he believes revolutions will break out in Arab Kingdoms, and that he also said that the Tunisian constitution would include a clause prohibiting normalization of relations with Israel.
Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat during a telephone interview, the Tunisia political leader stressed “I completely deny these comments.” He added “these comments are fabricated and aim to harm our relations with the US, and Western and Arab states, particularly the Gulf States.
As for Tunisia’s post-revolutionary relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Ghannouchi told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we want only good things for the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], and our policy is one of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states.”
Ghannouchi accused Zionist parties at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy of “fabricating” these comments, adding “I attended a seminar and we agreed that [my comments] would not be for publication. When they published them we complained about this issue and they apologized, but then they distorted the content [of my words], and that is in order to harm our international relations.”
As for what he will do now, Ghannouchi said “we will consult with lawyers on this issue and we are accustomed to taking newspapers that libel us and attribute statements to us which we did not say to court” adding “dozens [of newspapers] have been found guilty and forced to pay compensation.”
As for the criticism that he was subject to as a result of this misquote, Ghannouchi said “it was incumbent upon these journalists [who criticized him] to verify what they published, and not take quotes from known Zionist sources…especially if this harms Arab and Islamic relations” adding “Zionism is not happy to see Islam having good relations [with others].”” (thanks “Ibn Rushd”)

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