Dialogue, not protest, is the best way to bring about change in Saudi Arabia, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said on Wednesday as the country braced for possible protests in the world's top oil exporter.
Inspired by unrest sweeping other Arab states, Shiite protesters have taken to the streets in small numbers in eastern Saudi Arabia this month, with further rallies called for Friday.
Faisal cautioned that demonstrations would not usher in reform to Saudi Arabia, a bastion of religious conservatism, 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...."The called-for reform does not come via protests and (the clerics) have forbidden protests since they violate the Koran and the way of the Prophet," Faisal said.