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Saudi official rules out ties with the Kremlin

Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, was quoted Sunday as saying his country could not open diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union while Moscow maintained forces in Afghanistan.

In an interview with the Beirut magazine Monday Morning, Prince Faisal said there was a discrepancy between the Kremlin's support of the rights of the Palestinian people and its intervention in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia led the protests by Islamic countries against the soviet intervention in December and was the first state to recommend a boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games.

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Asked if he believed it was now time to establish diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union, the Saudi foreign minister replied: "The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan . . . does not give any healthy signals to encourage countries to have relations with the Soviet Union, because it shows complete disregard for the interests of sovereign independent nations."

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