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Britain to Summon Saudi Ambassador

Britain to Summon Saudi Ambassador
LONDON (AP) -- The British government said Thursday it would summon the Saudi Arabian ambassador to express displeasure with his poem praising Palestinian suicide bombers and criticizing the White House.

Ambassador Ghazi Algosaibi, in a short verse published in the London-based newspaper Al Hayat last week, wrote that suicide bombers ``died to honor God's word.''

The poem, titled ``The Martyrs,'' praised Ayat Akhras, an 18-year-old Palestinian who blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket March 29, killing two Israelis and wounding 25.

``Doors of heaven are opened for her,'' wrote Algosaibi, a well-known poet in the Arab world and Saudi Arabia's ambassador in London for more than a decade.

A Foreign Office spokesman said a senior official would speak to the ambassador ``soon.''

``We regard suicide bombings as a form of terrorism, and we would like to make our views known to the Saudi ambassador,'' a spokesman said on customary condition of anonymity.

However, the Foreign Office said it would not take any further action.

``We're not saying reprimand or rebuke,'' the spokesman said. ``We don't intend to take the matter any further.''

Algosaibi's office did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.

Algosaibi's poem also criticized the United States, referring to ``a White House whose heart is filled with darkness.''

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was ``appalled'' by the poem and planned to send a letter of protest to the ambassador.

``It is deeply disturbing that a senior Saudi diplomat publicly supports the continued terrorist bombing campaign,'' spokeswoman Fiona Macaulay said.

``This is clearly condoning violence against Jewish people, and is a completely unacceptable position for the ambassador to take.''
 
 

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