Bin Laden urges abandoning dollar: Al Jazeera tape

DUBAI (Reuters) - Osama bin Laden urged an end to reliance on the U.S. dollar as one solution to the global financial crisis and blamed developed countries for climate change, in an audiotape said to be of the al Qaeda leader.

A video grab from undated footage obtained in 2007 shows Osama bin Laden making statements from an unknown location. REUTERS/REUTERS TV

The authenticity of the tape, aired on Friday and the second by bin Laden to air on Arab satellite channel Al Jazeera this week, could not be immediately confirmed.

“It is necessary for us to avoid doing business in the dollar, and to finish with it in the fastest possible time,” bin Laden said on the brief tape.

Saudi-born bin Laden has never been found and is believed to still be hiding in the mountainous border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is known to suffer from ill-health.

U.S. soldiers and Afghan militia forces launched a large-scale assault on the Tora Bora mountains in 2001 after the September 11 attacks on the United States in pursuit of bin Laden, believed to have been hiding in the region with supporters after Afghanistan’s Taliban government was removed from power.

In excerpts from Friday’s tape lasting under three minutes, bin Laden also blamed Western countries for climate change.

“Talk about climate change is not an ideological luxury but a reality,” he said. “All of the industrialized countries, especially the big ones, bear responsibility for the global warming crisis.”

He added that while wealthy nations had agreed to the Kyoto Protocol that binds them to emission targets, former U.S. President George W. Bush had later rejected such limitations before Congress in deference to big business.

The United States never ratified the existing Kyoto Protocol, whose present commitments expire in 2012, and has said it will not sign up to an extended Kyoto Protocol, preferring a new agreement.

In a separate audiotape earlier this week on Al Jazeera also purportedly of bin Laden, he claimed responsibility for the failed December 25 bombing of a U.S.-bound plane and vowed to continue attacks on the United States.

In that message, addressed “from Osama to Obama,” bin Laden said the attempt to blow up the jet as it neared Detroit was a continuation of al Qaeda policy since September 11 2001.

Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Louise Ireland