Riyadh: Deal first step to end Iranian nuclear plan



JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS

Published — Tuesday 26 November 2013

Last update 28 November 2013 5:08 pm

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Saudi Arabia on Monday cautiously welcomed the Geneva deal reached between Western powers and Iran, describing it as a possible initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution to Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
“If there is goodwill, then this agreement could be an initial step toward reaching a comprehensive solution to Iran's nuclear program,” the Cabinet said, expressing hope that the accord would also lead to the removal of weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear weapons, from the Middle East and Arab Gulf region.
It was Saudi Arabia’s first official reaction to Sunday’s deal. GCC countries had previously expressed unease about the US outreach to Iran, as they generally view any normalizing of ties between Tehran and the West as a direct threat to their own stability.
In a statement issued after the Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Crown Prince Salman, Saudi Arabia also hoped that the accord would lead to “important steps” that ensure the rights of all countries in the region to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The Arab League expressed hope that the pact would encourage the international community to take effective steps for making the Middle East free of nuclear and mass destruction weapons. “The international community, especially the permanent members of the UN Security Council should deal with Israeli nuclear arms with the same concern to prevent spread of such weapons,” the league said.
Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Al-Jarallah said he hoped the agreement “would pave the way for a permanent accord that would defuse tension and preserve the stability and security of the region,” state news agency KUNA reported.
Related reports ­— Pages 6 & 10

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