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Jews barred, said Saudi Web site

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(CNN) -- The Saudi government has launched an investigation into why its tourism Web site posted a notice that travel visas to Saudi Arabia would not be issued to people of the Jewish faith, according to the spokesman for the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Adel Al-Jubeir, the embassy spokesman, said the information was posted by mistake and that tourist visas are not denied to people based on their religion.

Saudi Arabia
George W. Bush
United States

But Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., called on President Bush to deny travel visas to Saudis until their policy toward Jewish travelers is clarified.

"The Saudis have a lamentable history with regards to Israel and people of the Jewish faith," Weiner said in a statement. "President Bush should demand a full accounting regarding the Saudis' visa policy towards Jews."

The information posted on the Web site said visas would be denied to "Jewish people." The language was removed Friday morning, after Weiner complained. It now tells visitors to check with Saudi consulates in order to obtain visa information.

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said he was "surprised" Weiner would continue to raise the issue after being informed by the embassy that it was not the policy of the Saudi government to deny tourist visas to Jews.

"At this time, we should be working toward greater understanding and better relations between the United States and the Middle East," Prince Bandar said in a statement. "Rep. Weiner and his actions only serve to spread doubt and mistrust."

Weiner, who is Jewish, is a frequent critic of Saudi Arabia in Congress. He is the House sponsor of the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act, which would impose sanctions on the country unless it provides additional cooperation in the war on terrorism.

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