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Watch: US official lost for words when asked question about Saudi ArabiaStuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Affairs Bureau, was asked why the US has never criticized the elections in Saudi Arabia. This was followed by an excruciating 18-second silence.
A simple question about Saudi Arabia's attitude to democracy has left a senior US official with no words.
Stuart Jones, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Affairs Bureau, gave a long, awkward pause when asked during a press briefing why the US constantly criticizes the Iranian elections but not those in Saudi Arabia.
Dave Clark, AFP's Washington-based diplomatic correspondent, asked, "While you were over there (in Saudi Arabia), the Secretary criticized the conduct of the Iranian elections and Iran's record on democracy. He did so standing next to Saudi officials. How do you characterize Saudi Arabia's commitment to democracy, and does the administration believe that democracy is a buffer or a barrier against extremism?"
Eventually, after an 18-second silence, Jones managed to mutter a barely-intelligible response, which clearly did not answer the question.
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