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Saudi sets mid-April for security pact with Iran
Riyadh, 2ed Apr 2001

  Saudi Arabian Interior Minister Prince Nayef said in remarks published yesterday that he would sign a security pact with Iran during an official visit to the Islamic republic on April 15. Asked by the Arabic-language daily Okaz if the delay in signing, which had been expected in February, was a result of differences between the two countries, Prince Nayef said: "There is no difference really. We have agreed on the formula and security ties between the two countries will be good, God willing."

Saudi Arabia says the pact aims at fighting crime, terrorism and drug trafficking and should not be seen as a regional defense pact. Non-Arab Iran opposes the deployment of U.S. and Western forces in the region and is keen to sign defense pacts with its Arab neighbors. But Gulf Arab states, which look to the West for military support, have declined Iran's offer.

Iran is a major route for drug trafficking from Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan to Gulf Arab states and Europe. Saudi Arabia has moved faster than some other Gulf Arab states in improving ties with Iran after years of mutual suspicion that followed the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran.

Source: Gulf News©

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