Saudi minister: EU plays important role in Iranian nuke question
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Tuesday expressed appreciation for European Union efforts to seek a peaceful resolution to the growing controversy over Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology, reported dpa.
He said the best way to solve the region's nuclear question is complete disarmament of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The disarmament would have to include Israel, he said.
Al-Faisal's statements came during a joint press conference with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Al-Faisal called on Iran to respond positively to Solana's efforts to ensure that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. He urged Iran to seek a resolution to the nuclear question without resorting to confrontations, the official Saudi news agency reported.
European leaders have been pressuring Iran to allow international nuclear inspectors to visit the country to confirm whether or not Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful, but many world leaders remain sceptical.
Solana is currently visiting Saudi Arabia as the second part of a five-day Middle Eastern tour that will also take him to Qatar and Syria.
Topics on Solana's agenda include: relations between the EU and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC); the latest developments in the Middle East peace process; and Tehran's nuclear file.
Solana's first stop was in the United Arab Emirates, where he met UAE President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed. There he praised a free trade agreement between the two bodies.
Solana is scheduled to meet with Qatari Amir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa and Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem during his visit there.
The last leg in Solana's visit will take him to Damascus on Wednesday. He is due to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Vice President Faruk al-Sharaa and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.
In addition to the original agenda, Solana is also expected to discuss Syria's relations with both Lebanon and Iran.