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Saudi royal slams U.S. Middle East policy

Prince Turki al-Faisal said that his country and other Gulf states were astonished by secret American-Iranian dealings

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A prominent Saudi prince claimed that the kingdom was blindsided over talks on Iran’s nuclear deal and criticized U.S. inaction in Syria in an interview with the New York Times published Sunday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Policy Conference in Monaco, Prince Turki al-Faisal, the brother of Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, said that his country and other Gulf states were astonished by secret American-Iranian dealings that led to last month’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers, according to the newspaper.

Prince Turki said that the temporary nuclear deal with Iran would not adequately prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

“It’s important for us to sit down at the same table,” he said. “We have been absent.”

The royal called the failure of the U.S. and U.N. to work towards resolving Syria’s civil conflict tantamount to “criminal negligence.”

Non-lethal aid to the rebel Free Syrian Army that was last week suspended by the U.S. State Department after stockpiles were seized by al-Qaeda-linked militants was “irrelevant” in the first place, said Prince Turki.

“The U.S. gave us the impression that they were going to do things in Syria that they finally didn’t,” said Prince Turki.

“The aid they’re giving to the Free Syrian Army is irrelevant. Now they say they’re going to stop the aid: OK, stop it. It’s not doing anything anyway,” he added.

While Prince Turki currently holds no governmental position, his previous roles include that of Saudi's intelligence chief and ambassador to Washington, with some officials saying that he acts as an unofficial spokesman for the royal family and King Abdullah, according to the newspaper.