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Saudi Football Chiefs Apologize over Team’s Refusal to Pay Tribute

The Saudi football chiefs have apologised over their team's refusal to pay tributes to the London Attack victims.

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Saudi Football Players (White) getting into playing positions while Australia (Yellow) pays tribute. Twitter.
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  • Saudi Arabia and Australia played a World Cup qualifying game in Australia on Thursday, 8th of June
  • Before the game, Australian players linked arms in tribute to the victims of the London Attack
  • The players from the Saudi team did not take part in the tribute, inviting criticism from all over the world

June 06, 2017: The Football Federation Australia (FFA) organized a minute’s silence to pay their tributes to the victims of the London Attack minutes before the start of the World Cup qualifying game between Australia and Saudi Arabia and both the teams were briefed in advance.

While the Australian stars linked arms and stood in support of condemning the terror attack, the Saudi players were seen taking up their respective playing positions on the field for the kick-off despite having agreed to the tradition in the pre-game briefing.

ALSO READ: Police Identify 3rd London attacker

The Saudi Arabian team has invited a lot of criticism and anger from the world over. Social media was quick to react and bring up the issue, prompting an apology from the Saudi Football officials. An Australian MP called it “a disgraceful act”.

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation has made an “unreserved apology”. They continue that the “players did not intend any disrespect to the victims or their families”. They also condemned all acts of terror.

ALSO READ: Theresa May’s Response to London Attack

Two Australians were among the eight victims who died in the London terror attack. Australia went on to win the game 3-2 and joined Saudi Arabia and Japan at the top of the group stage.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Copyright 2017 NewsGram

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Despite Pleas From Senate, U.S. President Donald Trump Stands By Saudi Prince

Trump said he could abide by legislation ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen

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Donald Trump, Prince
U.S. President Donald Trump sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters journalists in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he stood by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince despite a CIA assessment that he ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and pleas from U.S. senators for Trump to condemn the kingdom’s de facto ruler.

Trump refused to comment on whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder, but he provided perhaps his most explicit show of support for the prince since Khashoggi’s death more than two months ago.

“He’s the leader of Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a very good ally,” Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office.

Saudi Arabia Prince
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the second day of the Future Investment Initiative conference, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. VOA

Asked by Reuters if standing by the kingdom meant standing by the prince, known as MbS, Trump responded: “Well, at this moment, it certainly does.”

Some members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are agitating to prevent MbS from becoming king, sources close to the royal court have told Reuters, and believe that the United States and Trump could play a determining role.

“I just haven’t heard that,” Trump said. “Honestly, I can’t comment on it because I had not heard that at all. In fact, if anything, I’ve heard that he’s very strongly in power.”

While Trump has condemned the murder of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist who was often critical of MbS, he has given the benefit of the doubt to the prince with whom he has cultivated a deep relationship.

Trump again reiterated on Tuesday that the “crown prince vehemently denies” involvement in a killing that has sparked outrage around the world.

Khashoggi, Prince
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. VOA

Trump has come under fierce criticism from fellow Republicans in the Senate over the issue, particularly after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed them. Last month, the CIA assessed that MbS ordered the killing, which Trump called “very premature.”

“You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MbS,” Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said last week.

Meeting with Senators

Graham and other senators who have supported the U.S.-Saudi alliance over the years have said that Trump should impose more sanctions after a first round targeted 17 Saudis for their alleged role in the killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

USA, Prince
Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters after a closed-door security briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and involvement of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, at the Capitol in Washington. VOA

As the Senate considers this week a joint resolution condemning the crown prince for the killing, something that the president would have to sign or veto if passed by Congress, Trump said he would meet with senators.

Trump said he hoped senators would not propose stopping arms sales to the Saudis, deals he has doggedly fought to save ever since the gruesome details of Khashoggi’s murder were leaked by Turkey.

“And I really hope that people aren’t going to suggest that we should not take hundreds of billions of dollars that they’re going to siphon off to Russia and to China,” Trump said.

Also Read: The Khashoggi Killing Creates Differences Between Trump And U.S. Lawmakers

Trump said he could abide by legislation ending U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen, a proxy war with regional rival Iran that has led to a deepening humanitarian disaster.

“Well, I’m much more open to Yemen because frankly, I hate to see what’s going on in Yemen,” Trump said. “But it takes two to tango. I’d want to see Iran pull out of Yemen too. Because – and I think they will.” (VOA)