Saud’s Tehran Talks to Focus on N – Program

RIYADH – Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal will visit Tehran today to discuss a host of regional and international issues including Iran’s nuclear program, issues related to Iraq and the Middle East peace process, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said here yesterday.

“It will be a one-day official visit of Prince Saud to Iran,” said Osama Nugali, spokes- man of the Foreign Ministry. He said Saud will be accompanied by senior officials of the ministry.

The prince will meet his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki and other high-ranking officials during his visit. Saud’s visit will coincide with a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, in Vienna to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue with the world waiting to see Iran’s response to a Western offer to wean Tehran from nuclear enrichment.

In Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Rez Asefi said the Saudi foreign minister would be carrying a message from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for the Iranian head of state. “Iran’s nuclear case, the developments in Palestine and Iraq besides many other regional issues will be discussed by Prince Saud with Iranian officials,” Asefi added.

At a joint press conference with Saud on May 18 at the State Department, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States was ready to hold direct talks with Tehran if Iran suspends all uranium enrichment activities. The six-nation-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has also called on Iran and Western countries to solve the crisis through dialogue.

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