Last update - 00:15 16/03/2009
Saudi diplomat warns Iran: Stay out of internal Arab disputes
By The Associated Press
Saudi Arabia's top diplomat on Sunday urged Iran to stay out of internal Arab
disputes, in particular in Lebanon and among the Palestinians.
Iran's foreign minister made a surprise visit to Saudi Arabia amid rising
tensions between the Islamic Republic and the Arab world.
Manouchehr Mottaki was met by his Saudi counterpart, Prince Saud al-Faisal, at
Riyadh Air Force base and met later with the Saudi monarch.
The visit comes after Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria held a mini-summit in
Riyadh last week to patch up their differences, which largely revolve around
the role of Iran in the region.
Iran supports Islamist movements Hamas and Hezbollah and is often at odds with
U.S.-allied Arab regimes in the region. Arab nations such as Egypt and Saudi
Arabia are also wary of Iran's nuclear program.
At a news conference Sunday, al-Faisal called for mutual respect between his
nation and Iran.
"Although we appreciate the Iranian concern in Arab issues, from our point of
view, this should be conducted through the legitimate Arab doorways," he said.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit accused Iran on last week of
manipulating Arab states to increase its influence, and Saudi Arabia has called
for a unified Arab approach to Iran.
Syria is Iran's closest Arab ally, something Saudi Arabia and Egypt would like