Saudi - Iranian summit held in Riyadh
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid a brief visit Saturday afternoon to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to discuss issues of mutual interest with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud and other senior officials of the Kingdom.
First Vice-President Parviz Davoudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki, Supreme Leader's Advisor for International Affairs Ali-Akbar Velayati, MPs and other ministers were accompanying President Ahmadinejad in his visit to Saudi Arabia.
Talks were expected to focus on the sectarian bloodshed in Iraq, the crisis in Lebanon and Tehran's nuclear row with the West.
The Saudi press sees Ahmadinejad's visit as a sign that the two sides are pooling efforts to ease regional crises at a time when Tehran is under heavy Western pressure over its nuclear plans and Riyadh is keen to avert a US-Iran military showdown.
The leading daily Al-Riyadh said a "half success" of the Saudi-Iranian summit would be "better than the continuation of crises" in regional trouble spots. "The leaderships of the two countries should tackle the issues of sectarian conflicts" between Sunnis and Shiites, the newspaper said.
"King Abdullah and the Iranian president have every chance of success if they put the will (to do so) above all else," it added.
Another daily Okaz, pointing to Iranian influence in Iraq and Lebanon, urged Tehran to help stabilize the region. "Every Arab and every Muslim aspires to see Iran play its natural role in the region... by becoming a factor of stability and peace, which would be compatible with its status in the area," the paper wrote.
"Mr President," echoed the Saudi Gazette, "your visit in this darkest hour yet for our region offers hope" of achieving Muslim unity. "As we people of the desert know, it's always darkest before dawn."
Iranian newspapers only published official reports that the president will be visiting Saudi Arabia later Saturday.
Just one newspaper included some opinion in its report. The independent daily Tehran-e-Emrooz said Ahmadinejad's administration is seeking improved relations with Saudi Arabia to boost chances of resolving the Middle East conflict without much U.S. intervention.
"Trying to help improve cool relations between Saudi Arabia and Syria to resolve the Lebanese crisis ahead of the Arab League meeting is another goal of Ahmadinejad's visit to Saudi," the paper said.