Monday, June 22, 2015

Archbishop Atallah Hanna Responds to Leaked Saudi Document

The Arabic original can be found here.

Clarification issued by His Eminence Atallah Hanna, Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Sebate in Jerusalem

We were shocked yesterday by a document issued by the Saudi Foreign Ministry that has been published across various social media sites. We do not know if it is real or a forgery. This document says that we received funds from the Saudi Embassy in Amman as support from the Saudi government. We would therefore like to clarify this as follows:

1. We have never requested assistance from Saudi Arabia and we have never received any assistance from Saudi Arabia. Therefore what was published in this document is erroneous and absolutely untrue.

2. Our positions are well-known to all and disseminated through all forms of media-- radio, television and print. Our positions are not up for barter. Our positions are not for sale and cannot be bought with money. We do not deny that we have been subject to temptations from certain parties to change our positions, especially with the start of the Syrian crisis. Our position has remained firm and clear. We refuse political money intended for specific political positions. Thus all attempts by those who want to influence us and our positions have failed.

3. We refuse funding that is conditional on political positions, whatever those positions may be. Our positions are patriotic and stem from our personal conviction based on our Arab identity with regard to the issue of Palestine, our primary concern and our concern for all issues of the Arab nation from the Ocean to the Gulf.

4. We have no way of knowing who is behind this document and we do not know if it is forged or real. The party who should be asked about this topic is the Saudi government and so I am demanding that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia conduct a serious investigation about this document, who requested assistance and who received it.

Here I do not rule out this being a case of corruption and serious fraud on the part of one of the officials or employees in the Saudi government. Personally, I have never delegated anyone to speak on my behalf to the Saudi government to request financial assistance and I have never received any financial assistance from the Saudi government.

5. Once more, I ask the Saudi government to conduct a serious investigation into this offensive document which contains information that is absolutely untrue and has absolutely no connection to me.

6. We affirm that what is found in this document has no relation to us. We have nothing to do with the money that is said to have been sent and requested from the Saudi Embassy in Amman, if it is determined who received this money and where it was sent.

7. I have the right to initiate legal proceedings if the Saudi government does not explain what happened, especially since it has become clear that it is an issue of bureaucratic corruption and fraudulently taking money in the name of other people who did not request this money and who of course will never receive it.

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