Iran’s FM Holds Talks in Saudi Arabia
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi arrived for talks in Saudi Arabia on Saturday amid further signs of improving relations between the Gulf states, reported Reuters, citing agencies.
Kharrazi, on his first visit to the kingdom this year, delivered a letter from Iran's President Mohammad Khatami to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd at his palace in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.
The agency did not say what was in the letter. But it quoted Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as saying Kharrazi's visit "came within the framework of coordinating the policies of the two countries."
"We held a round of negotiations on bilateral relations and ways of boosting them. We also touched some political issues which will be discussed further," he added.
Faisal said they did not discuss reported U.S. charges that some Iranian officials were involved in the 1996 bombing of a U.S. base in the Saudi city of Khobar in which 19 U.S. servicemen were killed.
Last week's New Yorker magazine said Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh had handed President George W. Bush a list of people, including Iranian officials, he believed should be indicted. Iran rejected the report as "baseless".
According to Iran's official news agency, IRNA, the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz said during his meeting with Kharazi said that the Islamic Republic of Iran plays an important role in the region and the Muslim World and Riyadh is determined to strengthen relations with Tehran in all fields.
On Palestine, The Saudi crown prince said that the plight of Palestinians is of prime concern of the Muslim World adding that the "US" is committing great mistake with supporting the Zionist regime.
Saudi-Iranian relations took a downturn after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution and were made worse by Riyadh's support for Baghdad during Iraq's 1980-1988 war with Iran.
Tehran and Riyadh broke off relations in 1988, a year after Iranian Muslim pilgrims in Mecca clashed with Saudi police during an anti-US protest leaving more than 400 dead.
Ties were restored in 1991 and relations between the two countries have warmed since the 1997 election of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
Last month, Tehran and Riyadh signed a security agreement to fight terrorism and drug trafficking. The deal is the first between non-Arab Iran and its Gulf neighbors.
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)