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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 8, 2003

QUESTION: It also came out over the weekend that the State Department had revoked the visa of a Saudi cleric. Can you talk about --

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, we revoked the visa --

QUESTION: -- (inaudible) a couple of weeks ago?

MR. BOUCHER: -- of Mr. Jaafar Idris. People who are admitted to the United States and permitted to remain here on an A2 visa status are permitted to remain provided that they satisfy certain criteria.

In this case, as a condition of residence in the United States, Mr. Idris was required to perform duties directly related to and in support of the Saudi Embassy. Subsequent to his acceptance by the Office of Protocol, it was learned that he no longer was performing such duties on a full-time basis at the embassy and therefore he no longer qualified for that visa status.

QUESTION: So you would consider it a pretty, a pretty cut and dried case, not because he was engaging in activities that were, perhaps, of a brand of Islam that's not particularly --

MR. BOUCHER: It's not related to the brand of Islam, it's related -- if somebody comes in to perform functions for an embassy and then they subsequently stop performing those functions, they are no longer entitled to any diplomatic or official status in relation to the embassy.

QUESTION: Did the Saudi Embassy inform you that he was no longer working there?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we found it out by ourselves or if they informed us.

QUESTION: Just to be clear, you said on a full-time basis. Did he stop entirely or was he still doing a little something for them, just not enough to justify that visa status?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if it was entirely or it was not enough, but it was not enough.

QUESTION: And did they protest that at all, or they were --

MR. BOUCHER: You'd have to ask the Saudis what their opinion is of this.

[ ... ]