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Saudi king: UK ignored terrorism warning

  • Story Highlights
  • Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah begins state visit to Britain on Monday
  • In an interview, he accused the UK of not doing enough to fight terrorism
  • He said his country had passed on information the could have prevented attacks
  • British foreign secretary pulls out of meeting with Saudi counterpart
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has stirred up controversy ahead of a rare visit to Britain which begins Monday, accusing British authorities of ignoring intelligence that could have prevented the 2005 London bombings

King Abdullah accused Britain of not doing enough to fight international terrorism.

In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation that aired on Monday, the Saudi king said Britain failed to act on information provided by Saudi security services ahead of the suicide bombings on London's transport network in July 2005, that killed 52 people and injured more than 770.

"We sent information to Great Britain before the terrorist atrocities in Britain, but unfortunately no action was taken and it may have been able to avert the tragedy," the monarch told the BBC.

King Abdullah's arrival in London on Monday will mark the first state visit by a Saudi monarch in 20 years.

In the BBC interview, he refused to elaborate on the details of the intelligence, saying that disclosing specific information "may cause sensitivities" between the two countries' security services.

However, he went on to say that Britain was among a number of countries that were not taking the issue of global terrorism seriously.

A British Home Office spokesman strenuously denied that any intelligence from Saudi Arabia had been overlooked in the run-up to the atrocities and that information provided by the Saudis "was materially different from what actually occurred on 7 July and clearly not relevant to those acts."

"We have made it clear that if we had intelligence that could have prevented the attacks we would have acted upon it," the spokesman told CNN.

The spokesman said an investigation by the British Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) published last year found there was no evidence that intelligence passed on by the Saudis could have prevented the bombings.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband pulled out of a meeting with his Saudi Arabian counterpart in London Monday, but the Foreign Office insisted it was for personal reasons and not a snub.

Miliband has just adopted a baby son and is taking time off to look after him, the British Foreign Office confirmed to CNN.

The Foreign Office insisted Miliband's decision to pull out of the meeting with Saudi's Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was due to personal reasons and was in no way linked to King Abdullah's comments.

Miliband's duties are being carried out by junior ministers in his absence. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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