Iran's Defense Minister: Visit to Saudi Arabia Aims to Create Confidence
Iran's defense minister Ali Shamkhani started Monday a landmark visit to Saudi Arabia on a confidence-building mission ahead of talks on a security pact between the two countr Ali Shamkhani, who was accompanied by a high-level military delegation, said on departure from Tehran that the aim was "to create a climate of confidence with Saudi Arabia, which will benefit the whole of the region", AFP said Monday. "There is no threat against the countries bordering the Persian Gulf, but we need to look at the threats coming from outside the region, by which I mean foreign forces," he told AFP, referring to the US military presence which Tehran opposes.
He added "we want to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in the area of security and are ready to do so. But as far as a regional security pact is concerned, it would be wrong to hurry. We still need a lot of discussion to find the proper framework."
Upon his arrival, the Iranian minister delivered messages on part of the Iranian authorities to the Saudi officials.
Shamkhani is due to meet King Fahd and visit Saudi military bases. Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the first round of talks between the ministers of defense of Iran and Saudi Arabia is to be held Tuesday in Jeddah. Last week the Saudi government, ahead of Shamkhani's three-day visit, tasked Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz with negotiating a bilateral security accord with Iran.
Iran News Agency (IRNA) said the accord would focus on the fight against drug trafficking, while diplomatic sources in Riyadh said it was to be signed when the interior minister visits Tehran in May -(Agencies).
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