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Saudi Ambassador Hails Forthright Albright

Sun., Feb. 23, 1997

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador said his country looks forward to dealing with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, despite the curtailed role women play in Saudi society.

Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador, told reporters, “If half the men in the State Department had the … What was that word she used? - cojones - that Albright has, then America will be safe forever.”

He was referring to one of the more colorful moments in Albright’s post as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations when Cuban fighter pilots shot down a pair of civilian aircraft.

A U.S. intercept of the fighter pilot chatter caught one of the Cubans saying he had taken out the testicles of the intruder, using the Spanish word “cojones,” which also means manhood or bravery. An indignant Albright said: “Frankly, this is not ‘cojones.’ This is cowardice.”

The comment ruffled feathers in the staid world of diplomacy but delighted President Clinton and the Cuban-American community in Florida.

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